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singles/eps - january 2008



French Possession - Triple A EP 

British bands playing country music are always going to be on dangerous ground but there's something about the kitchen sink nature of lead track 'Nothing Else Applies' which comes together to make a cool little pop song. Every C+W cliche's crow-barred in, from slide guitars to June Carter-Cash style backing vocals and somehow it all sort of works. Its about as genuine as a wild-west theme restaurant in Hampshire but no worse for it. As for the other tracks on the EP, stripped of their bluegrass ornaments, you're left with the sort of evil quaint-ness Paul McCartney's been churning out for the past thirty years. Still, the lead track's a little beauty and well worth a place on any discerning punter's ipod.

Andy Gynn


Ida Maria- “Drive Away My Heart” 

Fresh from touring with Good Shoes and Lightspeed Champion, Ida Maria (pronounced “Eeeda”, just to clarify) is gathering a reputation as a live tour de force and a brilliant songwriter.  On the strength of this release it seems that this reputation is fully deserved.  Like a punch in the face, Ida’s broken voice demands attention from the opening of “Drive Away My Heart”, sounding quite unlike any other songwriter when coupled with Strokes-like guitars.  By the time the chorus has kicked in you’ve already submitted to her demands of “I wanna give you love/ I wanna show you love”.  B-Side “Leave Me, Let Me Go” is a much softer affair with chiming guitars and Ida’s voice soothing you to “Leave me/ Leave me/ Leave me/ Let me go”.  Both explosive and beautiful, like a female Jeff Buckley, this is a songwriter you cannot possibly resist.

John Sherman


The Rascals- “Out of Dreams” EP 

When the main appeal of a band lies with a front woman, it’s always a brave (read “stupid”) move to part ways with her but that’s what The Rascals have done.  Soldiering on after their “amicable split” from Eva Peterson (when they were The Little Flames) seems to have paid off for the time being though, with old pal Alex Turner hand picking them as support for Arctic Monkeys’ latest tour things are looking up.  However, upon hearing this release the feeling can’t be shaken that the band are unwilling to alienate fans of their previous outfit.  Instead The Rascals make no real departure from their tried-and-tested quiet-loud formula, with brash guitars, pummeling bass, reverb-laden guitar solos all still present.  The title track opens the EP and sounds like Milburn tripping out, while the follower “Lying Under the Second Seal” is a much punkier thrash that fails to go anywhere.  Similarly, any interest in “Ratcatcher” is lost when the self-indulgent one minute warbling guitar solo kicks in.  Listener mood by the final track can be summed up by its title, “Is It Too Late?”.  To which the answer should be “Not quite because I can skip this track and save four minutes of my life from boredom”.  No doubt they will win over new fans but they’re merely aping every other band who were brought up on Oasis and lad rock, which is a shame.  Are they “Out of Dreams”, or out of ideas I wonder?

John Sherman


Superface- State Your Business EP

Slowly becoming a natural hub for all up and coming music bravados- Leeds conceives another band of the future moment Superface. State Your Business mixes classic-rock movements, funk weighted beats and infectious hooks within 5 tracks. At times a little predictable and a bit too mature for today’s modern outlook, Superface’s attempts would probably be better seen on stage, but as for new listening I wouldn’t put it aside. “Monkey’s Gonna Getcha” and “Shine Like a Superstar serve up the catchiest choruses past the Yorkshire border. Ian Brown meets the funk rhythms of the 70’s completes a rounded description, but with the funk attitude tainting State Your Business outdated it’s hard to imagine this working anywhere outside their home-ground.

Erin Kubicki


Dawn Kinnard - Devil's Flame

Dawn Kinnard sings in a smoky, soul singer's voice, not unlike that of Charlotte Gainsbourg. But Ms Gainsbourg doesn't sing songs that sound like James Bond theme tunes, from when James Bond was a dangerous evangelical Christian and took on the heathen, or whatever the hell this is about. At least I don't think she does. The album "Pearl" is released next year.

Phil Coales


Paul Van Dyk- Let Go 

Let Go is the latest attempt of Dyk’s to match mainstream popularity with club-dance roots, sadly as every other record brought forth by the German spawned DJ, Let Go falls into the non-credited-anthem-ruled trance that shouldn’t have been released past 1992.  

Once titled Gatecrasher-God, PVD uncovers a track more suited to a Saturday night down Blackpool arcades than Ibiza soundtrack. Although on the back of this, remixes coming from Alex Kunnari and Tv Rock hold more modern-fuelled beats than Van Dyk on his solo mission executing a pumped ambiance set for the sweatiest club scene.

Erin Kubicki


Shy Child – Drop the Phone (Wall of Sound) 

I can see why the introduction to Drop the phone would entice people to listen further, but I really hate it. To the point where I literally want to throw the radio out of the window. But instead, I listen further and am torn between liking the happy electro-pop sound and loathing the irritating keyboard/synth melody. The melody is good, as is the drummer, but it is purely the keyboard sound which makes the entire track sound like a primary school music lesson for children as they incessantly bang their sweaty fists against the instrument. There is definitely a likeable track here, but in disguise as a crap keyboard demo – but I would want to see what they produce next.
Watch the video to 'Drop the Phone



Underworld - Beautiful Burnout (Underworldlive)

Despite apologetically stumbling into existence (it forms the second part of an epic 2-track assemblage intro from the album 'Oblivion with Bells' but like a badly copied CD, no effort has been made to smooth over the fact it starts almost mid-beat) we can forgive Underworld this minor indiscretion. Why? Quite simply not only is it the best track on the album, it's possibly the best track they have done in the last 7 or 8 years. It twists and turns through 8 minutes of evocative brilliance all held together by Karl Hyde's alienesque patter. At roughly 5 minutes a muffled drum sequence drops in to invigorate things some more and remind you that songs don't all have to be 3 minutes to be catchy. And there is an awesomely acidy house remix too which takes me right back to Rez days...ahh....
Watch the video to 'Beautiful Burnout'



Cass McCombs – “That’s That” (Domino) 

Pity John Hughes seems to have retired from the world of filmmaking; “That’s That” could have come straight off the soundtrack to one of his teen opuses, and that’s no bad thing. A skeletal affair of crisp drums and pumping bass, McCombs croons and adds a little reverb-drenched guitar over the top. Uplifting, especially during the chorus, this could be a “Pretty in Pink” for the noughties.

Will Columbine


The Wombats – Moving To New York - 14th Floor Records

This is the first single to be released after their album launch; and following the massive success of "Let's Dance To Joy Division," the band have to prove they've got what it takes to maintain popularity. And in fact, this second single is pretty dissimilar to the first. The jokey-quirky vibe has been abolished, and now we're into a much more serious tone, but I wouldn't be lying if I said I adore it. It's upbeat, and it's brilliant. Hints of Bloc Party drifting in, and a heavy bass line tearing through the verses that is just the epitome of excellence. It's all a high speed journey, from start to finish, careering through verse and chorus but loving every second of it, and by the time it ends, you just want it to start again.

The single also came with three bonus remixes, Paul Van Dyke (no prizes for guessing how that ended up,) one by The Touch (more dance-y vibes) and one by Kyte (whose awesome début album is also out this month,) taking a far more chilled out vibe. And thus, it has been proven, The Wombats aren't a one hit wonder, and with more material like this, they'll be around for a long long time to come.

For: Fans of explosive high octane indie brilliance.
Not for: Nobody, hopefully.

Thom Curtis


Urbnri – Young Free & Simple - LaDigit

Hard to classify really. Other reviews have links to Graham Coxon or a Glaswegian Streets(?) but I couldn't disagree more, and as for The Sun saying they were "bad boys," well that's the sun for you. Maybe the Graham Coxon reference draws from the fact that at times, you feel rather bored with this track. But it does have things going for it, oh yes it does, as the main riff is catchy as sin. It's just a shame that the vocals on top drown the entire track in a sense of unexciting monotony. But besides that, it's all rather good. Musically, awesome. Catchy indie music and hard hitting beats that just makes you were sixteen and hurling yourself around a front room at a house party after having too much punch. I'd prefer to draw links with The Libertines, perhaps?

For: People who think Graham Coxon would be good if his backing music was more upbeat.
Not for: People who don't like Libertines and similar bands.

Two bonus remixes came with the single, and they're actually pretty good. Vocals mainly removed, we've got two interestingly incredible rave/dance tracks. How strange.

Thom Curtis


The Brute Chorus – Chateau/The Cuckoo & The Stolen Heart – (LaDigit)

I think the word I'm looking for with The Brute Chorus, is, theatrical? Very yee-hah, and drawing massively from folk and country classics, you could imagine each of these songs in a terrible musical with no point. It's all a bit mental, and the songs to be about head-cases too.

Regardless of the unexpected genre (although possibly subtle hints of indie in there somewhere,) it isn't bad. There's nothing wrong with it, but then again there's nothing particularly right with it.

A quirky whining male vocal line traces over the swaggering beats that instantly conjures up images of drunk men on front porches.

For: I'm not really sure but it will definitely appeal to someone.
Nor for: Quite a lot of people, sadly.

Thom Curtis


Nephu Huzzband - Papers

The music industry has always had a bit on a lump in its throat, and pants, regarding youth. On and on they go about how youthful their acts are, ‘oh, little Tyler Hanson he’s only three years old’. Well whoop-de-doo, he’s three years old and awful. Why, that is so much better than being old enough to legally drink and awful.

And so Nephu Huzzband (worst name in the history of the know world since... since Trevor) are talked up in their PR blurb thing as being: ‘inspirationally young’. Inspirationally young? What in the name of all that’s holy does that mean? Do they inspire the elderly to begin to literally shedding years? It doesn’t mean anything does it? It’s just PR talk for their cocky little shits who think they’re better than they actually are. It goes on to suggest that they: ‘play with a fluidity that belies their age.’ Balls. They play choppy, 80s-esque indie-rock just like every other 16 year white middle class kid, no better, no worse.

You see the problem is that youth is naive and thus, bands like Neptune Buzzband or whatever they’re called, mistake direct lifting of other peoples’ music with the term ‘influenced by’. There’s one perfect paragraph in their little PR thing which covers the B-side of which on four and a half words are true, those being; ‘The B-side... The Cure’.

There is a shift towards youth and young people performing music nowadays for a few disgusting reasons. The first is that it’s easier to market some smooth-as-a-baby’s-arse bunch of ‘cute’ twelve year olds that it is a group of late-twenty somethings with beer guts and bags under their eyes. The second reason is that their inability to differentiate between influence and direct rip off makes the job of selling them so simple. You liked Joy Division? Well, guess what, this lot sound just like them, not as good of course but their all alive and should be for another eighty years if they drink up all their carrot juice. The sad truth is, just like the X-Factor and all that lot, alternative music is the playground of the young, vacuous and beautiful... hurray.

Nuphu Huzzband are not ‘the UK’s most promising and forward-thinking younger indie-rock band’, Nuphu Huzzband are rubbish. Papers is out early 2008, good luck dodging that one.

Sean Gregson


Laura Marling - Ghosts

Talking of youth here comes Laura Marling looking all youthful and that. Apparently she’s only seven and three quarters and is the most talented girl in her finger painting class. Ghosts, her new single, is already the music for a mobile phone advert in my head. I can see them now, dickheads in open shirts looking like Jamie Oliver’s mates, pratting about on some roaming field on a summer’s day. I’ve played this song to all my friends and they both hated it, I’m not too sure though.

Ghosts starts off like every other folk-lite song but then goes off on a tangent that sound like a speeding train. I say speeding, I mean meandering and not meandering in a bad way, just not in a speeding way. It’s pretty but it’s not going to inspire anyone to anything... except maybe to top-up their credit.
Watch the video to 'Ghosts'

Sean Gregson


Wilburnsilver - This is Your Life (in Town)

It may be a late review but it was worth waiting to listen to this CD. 'This is Your Life' is so chock full of action during it's brief two and a half minute existence that when it suddenly demises it's a bit of a shock. A loose skiffle beat underpins a basic key line but the real gem is in the bridge - a big baggy bass drum leads a haunting male sea shanty vocal harmony. More please.



The Favours - Sick of It (Stonetrax)

Unashamedly new wave, 'Sick of It' bridges the gap between Blondie and Elastica with some aplomb. Slick, quick and bursting at the seams with energy. Having a stunning and talented front woman probably won't hurt their chances of success either, certainly better than staring at Justine Frischmann.



Like a Thief - Cartography Song

There can't be many songs written about the art of map making, even if this one is a bit of a tenuous link with creating a perfect partner with no history from scratch. The chief weapon of Like a Thief is clearly singer song writer Holly Jazz Lowe (it must have been difficult growing up in Scarborough with that name) who has the kind of deep, fulsome voice more associated with the 70s West End musical divas. Maybe it's this nostalgia value for me or the Everything but the Girl style song writing, but I think I actually quite like this. I'd better go for a quick lie down...



Helen Boulding - Copenhagen (Maid in Sheffield)

Another month and another Helen Boulding release. I for one had enough after the very first one I heard and 'Copenhagen' is not going to change my mind. Instead it fits snugly into the overpopulated mediocre female singer songwriter category and has few features of note beyond the vaguely stirring outro. But I may have been confusing interest in the music with an interest that the single was reaching it's end. Proficiently un-noteworthy.



Karen Bishko - Singles for Singles

OK. Caveat coming on. I would not normally let a review of this get anywhere the pages of Tasty but by crikey! 'Singles for Singles' is so abysmal it deserves some kind of credit. Let's kick off with the cover which features (presumably) our Karen curled up in a gilt and velvet chair, cuddling her (frankly ugly) dog against a (frankly badly drawn) backdrop including a little notebook with lists of 'Love' and 'Fear' and a window through which stares a cow. Eh? No matter. Let's turn to the press release that informs us that Karen's lyrics are 'nothing short of shit hot' - Jason Orange and 'by far the best on MySpace' - Nick Heyward. Stop laughing at the back. This may well be true but her vocal style in 'Run Run Run' is so clipped and staccato that you can't understand a word she is saying anyway. Then when she does say something intelligible in 'Unfertilised' (I said stop laughing) she just prattles on about lurve and not finding lurve and bad lurve and missing lurve. Avoid like the plague.

PS - Oh my god it just got even worse - Karen even offers her services an agony aunt on her web page - see for the grizzly details!



Lightspeed Champion – Tell Me What It's Worth (Domino)

You have no idea how hard I had to fight the urge to write:

No more than a passing comment or
Little more than a small toss

The reason being the new single from Lightspeed Champion isn’t worth that much at all. It’s bland and this guy has an awful mockney drawl which gets more irritating as the song goes on, especially as he’s American.

Maybe I’ll take my promo copy down to the record exchange and find out what it’s really worth...
Watch video to 'Tell Me What it's Worth'

Sean Gregson


Roybn – Be Mine (Konichiwa) 

Well at least it’s not as bad as her other single. Still rather awful though. Whilst it seems Roybn has a fairly decent set of lungs on her, her song writing abilities (if, indeed, they are hers) let’s her down quite spectacularly. Perhaps it’s below average par is meant to be tongue in cheek. Or perhaps it’s a case of ‘not realised her full potential’. The strings are a nice instrumental effect on a track like this, but it’s ruined when the chorus kicks in for the 300th time. And I’m not even going to mention the spoken word part.
Watch the video to 'Be Mine'

Catriona Boyle


Young Husband – Could They Be Jealous/ Soft Deadly Hymns (Culturedeluxe) 

Young Husband is a young man called Euan. It is unclear whether he is a husband or not. What is clear is that the man needs some kind of adrenaline injection, electric shock, or other form of ‘wakey wakey’ treatment. Whilst this track is a nice shoe-gazing acoustic affair, it sounds like its being played at the wrong speed. It’s just too damn slow and has an unsavoury never ending quality. Luckily it does end, and it seems Young Husband’s go-slow is a feature in all his work, as the next track is suffering from more flat batteries, complete with horrific slidey trombone. Someone give the man a cup of coffee.

Catriona Boyle

Turin Brakes – Something In My Eye (Virgin) 

So Turin Brakes are back. Embarrassingly most of us didn’t notice they’d gone. Something In My Eye showcases what Turin Brakes do best – slightly schmaltzy, heartfelt, acoustic wistfulness. Fans will no doubt celebrate their return, while the rest of us wonder if next time they’ll come back with something a bit different.

Catriona Boyle


Gabriella Cilmi – Sweet About Me (Universal) 

Gabriella’s voice is a wonderful mix of sugar-sweet pop and fiery jazz and blues. Whilst the song itself is a little repetitive (I have, after 3 minutes, received the message loud and clear that Gabriella is not sweet) it’s a welcome change to hear real instruments on a pop track for once. A lovely summery pop song with a jagged edge.

Catriona Boyle


Biffy Clyro – Who’s Got A Match (14th Floor) 

“Who’s Got A Match” is the final single to be released from “Puzzle” and weighing in at just under two and a half minutes, it jerks and twitches like a street fighter, Queens of the Stone Age style-guitars coursing through his veins.   Cementing its status as a live favourite, the stomping mid-section cartwheels its way to a paint-your-face-blue-and-charge-across-the-border crescendo.  It’s a belting swansong to a near-perfect year and entirely sums up one of the UK’s finest bands.

So 2008 should see Biffy Clyro take it easy then, smirking proudly and contentedly over their shoulders as the sun sets on the last 12 months?  Yeah, right!  Turn this one up, place on repeat and wait to see what these boys unleash next…

Stuart Bowen


The Little Ones- Ordinary Song (EMI )

Shining through the latest releases comes California’s sun-kissers The Little Ones set ready for their up and coming offering. Crossing the pond, these four lads set their foundations in melodic indie-pop with the ability to crush boredom with stereo pleaser Ordinary Song. With growing success tucked under their west-coast belts, The Little Ones can name drop shared bills from the likes of the Rumble Strips to the Kaiser Chiefs, which isn’t surprising down to the fresh nature of the ever bold-dashed pop rummaging through every bar of Ordinary Song.  

Pulled from their arriving debut Morning Tide, Ordinary Song twists the expected glowing-west coast average sound with originality, out with the aid of EMI, it’s sure to spill its bright-take all over the radio-waves.
Watch the video to 'Ordinary Song'

Erin Kubicki


12 Stone Toddler - Come Back (Amazon)

Quirky but palpably very Mr Bungle, 12 Stone Toddler return with 'Come back'. A jabbing piano melody and a clickety washboard percussion set the scene for the dark funkadelic synths. This is the sort of music Tim Burton would make if he turned his attentions away from film making.



Reel People feat. Tony Morelle & Imaani - Amazing (Papa)

Like an 80's soul track by Shalamar but with slightly more expensive, more sophisticated synthesisers. Most unnecessary for my ears.



Champion Kickboxer - Candle Power EP (Sheffield Phonographic Corporation)

Step forward please Sheffield's premier pop outfit. No, not the Arctic Monkeys. Not even Pulp. For it is the mighty Champion Kickboxer who stand proud and peerless in their unceasingly inventive take on the indie pop song. There are Brian Wilson-esque vocal melodies dripping out of every corner, impossibly high and beautiful crystalline guitar parts trickling out and an unnerving sense of the unusual and arresting rearing it's ugly head on a regular basis. 'Photo' is still as charming as ever but is also given a run for its money by 'Hole' and the lilting 'Master of Dancing'. Do yourself a favour and get a copy of this immediately.



Paul Hourican - Intro (Hurricane)

I don't want to be unkind but on the opening track 'One Step Forward' Hourican sounds so uninterested in his own work that I'm damn sure I can't be bothered to get excited by it. And follow up 'All I Ever Wanted' does little to lift the gloom - a leaden soulful tinted ballad with a reggae vibe. If you like your singer songwriters at the softish end of the spectrum, something like a watered down Damien Rice, then Paul Hourican will be worth your time.



Fuckshovel - Long Time Dead

The endearingly named Fuckshovel, it will be no surprise to learn, devour influences such as Pantera, Slayer and Anthrax before part digesting and spewing them back out in the form of acidic pools of riff laden, drum heavy metal. But refreshingly vocalist Jon Stone does make an attempt to sing rather than wretch his way through both tracks on this single which means you can sit back and try and count how many maniacal kicks per minute drummer Dave Hirschheimer is producing - the man must have thighs of stone.



Club 8 - Heaven 

If all the copies of 'Young Folks' on the planet mysteriously disappeared, then 'Heaven' would probably do as a replacement. It’s a breezy little summer tune, which also manages to be surprisingly funky. It’s not going to drive you wild with excitement, but its definitely worthy of a spot on your compilations.

Andy Glynn


Correcto – Do it Better (Domino) 

Basically Ramones meets Bauhaus and causes interesting music. The wonderfully muted vocals slur mysterious half decipherable lyrics and numbed-out guitars cycle careworn riffs.  It works brilliantly, drawing you in, making you listen properly.  There are some crafty little touches and so much skill. Both tracks are over too quickly, and both are totally wonderful in a grimy-shit-on-my-shoe sort of way. 

Ian Anderson


Hot Chip – Ready For The Floor (EMI) 

Hot Chip return with the first single from their third album and Ready for the Floor shows that the band haven’t stood still, expanding their sound a bit with a bigger repertoire of synths and more depth.  Taking some cues from the likes of Simian Mobile Disco and Digitalism, but keeping their masterful touch when it comes to writing a falsetto chorus this isn’t a leap of faith, rather a gentle reshaping of their sound. 

Is it a good tune though? Course it is. It lacks the instant impact of tracks like ‘Over and Over’ but fits in a huge range of sounds without ever sounding cluttered, the production is flawless and the chorus is insanely catchy. A successful comeback and it bodes well for the album, which has a lot to live up to.
Watch video to 'Ready for the Floor'

Ian Anderson


The Pistolas – Hey Hey Hey (Best Before) 

The Pistolas rip off a bit of Hadouken here, a bit of Does it Offend You, Yeah? there and largely get away with it. Undoubtably a band to watch, with sharply delivered lyrics and laser precise musicianship, I just can’t face trotting out words like ‘angular’ and ‘new-wave’ all over again to describe another four talented kids aping what everyone else has done already.

Ian Anderson


Johnny Bennett – Red Light Room

On paper, opening a record with a gospel-tinged, Elton John-on-speed number with spoken interludes sounds like a very, very bad idea. But Bennett's boyish enthusiasm throughout 'Chance Meeting' somehow carries this energetic tune and just you try not to clap along.
The upbeat vibe spills over into 'Red Light Room', where Bennett's raspy, reedy voice differentiates him from the silky Connick Jrs and Jamie Cullums of this world. Granted, this man can do fairly pleasant piano balladry ('Where We Belong'), but his vocals suit the more gritty funk-blues of 'Exit Sign' far better. His pipes only reach their limit on the EP's closing track 'This Year's Lie', where attempts to call to mind the Red Hot Chili Peppers' BloodSugarSexMagik era on the pre-chorus ask a little too much of his vocal cords.
If you only have time for one track, do give 'Exit Sign' a spin. The marvellous blues licks throughout this song will give you an idea why Bennett has supported bands such as Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Doobie Brothers during his time in Nashville. It might be time for that debut album...

Chris McCague


PK – Casting Shadows

Whilst books are seldom made great by their covers, the status of a record can be improved with a decent sleeve. All of which might leave you gawping at the two gorgeously ugly ogres playing air guitar on the sleeve of California based PK's five-track EP. That is, of course, if you're not instead struggling to decide if the frontman reminds you more of the singers from Keane, The Cure or The Kooks.
On second track 'Palimpsest', the high vocal notes certainly recall Tom Chaplin from Keane as PK's lead singer croons "put your faith in sparks" on the chorus. A clever bridge then spends some time wrestling with overfussy drums at the song's conclusion. The complexity of the arrangements sometimes matches the song titles, such as on the enigmatically named 'TK-421 Why Aren't You At Your Post' where a marvellous funk-lite intro meshes with the predominantly bottom-end guitar riffs that drive the record.
In places, the singer's boyish voice disconnects from the bass-heavy arrangement, but the instrumentation is high quality throughout, particularly the intriguing range of dystopian guitar solos and textures. If you're after something a little more subversive than the classic sunny-side-up Californian rock number, this might just be your thing.

Chris McCague


Eat Sugar – Eat Sugar

Citing LCD Soundsystem and Shitdisco as influences, Eat Sugar are making a valiant attempt to bring electro-punk to a fresh audience using generous helpings of new-wave and indie.
This four-track debut EP meshes many of the prerequisites of the genre (hyperactive synths, indie-punk vocals, warp-speed tempos) with some original touches like the creepy keyboards and hi-hats of 'Black Eye'. Potential single 'Sixteen' sounds like a Kraftwerk remix of The Chemical Brothers' seminal 'Hey Boy Hey Girl' as told to Daft Punk (search on YouTube for the energetic video) while closer 'Brown Boots' splices in a church organ sound to lend drama to the song's repeating mantra: 'Brown boots and a leather bag / The saddest day, the saddest day'.
For a band who only formed 12 months ago, Eat Sugar already sound remarkably like the finished product. Thanks to their distillation of three or four genres into one distinctive sound, this Cincinatti foursome may have a big year or two ahead.

Chris McCague


Sine Star Project -  ‘Bleeding Like a Dog’ (Blood Light Recordings) 

2007 was for a lot of us quite a generic year in terms of alternative music. Day in Day out decent record buying public were forced to listen to a shed load of ‘heard it all before’ bands steaming off the success of others, with no thanks to a certain musical philistine (Ahem, Jo Wiley) sustaining this poor caliber of artists.  With the turn of a new year it’s about time British society was blessed with something a little more challenging and at long last eight weeks in our prayers have been answered. 

The classically trained multi-instrumentalist Peter J. Croissant is the brains behind this outfit and with such a strong name it’s no wonder the band used it as an anagram to call themselves. Hailing from sunny Southampton guitarist Mike Davis, bassist Ben Rowley, drummer Matt Shmigelski and keyboardist Nathan Thomas complete the lineup. ‘Bleeding Like a Dog’ is the first single to be taken off their forthcoming album ‘Building Humans’, but with such an eclectic mix of musical styles and a wide variety of influences its sound is hard to pin point, making quite a nice change for once. 

Upon first encounter the listener could be forgiven for thinking ‘Bleeding Like a Dog’ is just downright strange. When the dark temperament of the stabbing piano is suddenly met with a carousel like chorus of fun this can have the potential to confuse. However on closer inspection it is the complexity and imaginative way in which this song is executed that really makes this track stand out. ‘Bleeding Like a Dog’ then is quite orchestral allowing for such a big sound which in turn only proves Croissant’s classical abilities. Driven by such theatrical prowess and performed under an umbrella of ambition, this neo-classical, prog-rock 5 piece truly are a feast for the ears. 

In addition the accompanying B-side, exclusive to the download single is the re-imagining of Bjork’s ‘Army Of Me’. Recorded on four grand pianos it’s a beautiful yet haunting version that’s smothered in Jeff Buckley style vocals.  

Subsequently Sine Star Project appear free from all the usual rules and restrictions of song structure without seeming too pretentious. ‘Bleeding Like a Dog’ is an imaginative musical alternative to all that Indie twaddle that’s been cluttering the records shops for far too long, what a relief. 

Amie Kimpton


Sons & Daughters - ‘Darling’ (Domino) 

When the majority of us simply tut at the sight of yet another pathetic WAG shamelessly sprawling herself across every corner of the media, Adele Bethel lead singer of Sons & Daughters goes one better and places this justifiable anger into a rather pleasant song . While based on the 60’s film ‘Darling’ starring Julie Christie as an ‘IT’ girl this new release also coincides with the recent rise of the useless celeb.  

As the second single to be taken from their third album ‘The Gift’, ‘Darling’ sees the band once again ditch their former gritty and slightly abrasive nature in favour of a slicker, richer noise whilst paying homage to those 60’s girl bands that we’ve come to truly appreciate. The reason behind this transition it seems is producer and former Suede guitarist Bernard Butler whose aim is to reinvent a band who managed to slip away from the indie net of fame back in 2005.  

‘Darling’ then is a result of a new start in order for S & D to become a more established band. With its precise percussion, sweet girly vocals and ear-pricking guitar this catchier affair is sure to get hair flicking and heels stomping across the most mainstream of indie dance floors. Armed now with a strong pop aesthetic and a quest for success this Blondie meets The Long Blondes alteration means that the possibility of S & D once again dissolving into thin Glaswegian air will not be an option, well not just yet anyway. 

Let’s hope those slags in WAG land take notice of Adele’s celebrity swipe and refrain from clogging up our current affairs with irrelevant tosh. Realty prevails though as I’m sure they’re far too concerned with the day-to-day pressure of listening to Britney Spears while applying their fifth bottle of fake tan in four hours. 
Watch the video to 'Darling'

Amie Kimpton