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singles/eps - february 2008

Huw Costin – Full Moon At Christmas Time/December (Verdant) 

Nottingham-based singer-songwriter Huw Costin plies his trade in stark, sparse, acoustic melancholy and amusingly cites his influences as “Buckley, Cash, Drake, Cope and Kilmister”.  Whilst in his current solo incarnation you can hear the stripped-down nuances of Tim/Jeff, Johnny and Nick, fans of either Julian or Lemmy should steer well clear.

This month, Costin begins the process of releasing his “Regret” series which, over the course of the next six months, sees him release one volume per month up to August.  At this point, it will be clearer as to whether he attains the heights of his heroes and provides these shores with an honest, intelligent and talented songwriter, because on this evidence this is more than possible.

Stuart Bowen


Korn – Hold On (Virgin Records) 

This, the second single from Korn’s untitled new album, may not win them any new fans but contains enough trademark nuances – down-tuned riffs, slapped basslines, vitriolic lyrics and an underlying tale of pain and near-death - that will more than sate the appetite of those who have been with them from the start.

Produced and mixed respectively by former NIN-cohorts Atticus Ross and Alan Moulder, there is a more industrial, mechanical feel to this offering, perhaps reflective of the multiple departures and changes of personnel the band are (and have been) going through.

It’s not got the menacing-malevolence of “Freak on a Leash” or the nursery-rhyme, bag-piped weirdness of “Shoots and Ladders”, but it is Korn doing what they do best and who can blame them for that?
Watch the video to 'Hold On'

Stuart Bowen


Trashcan Jack vs. Billy Idol - Club Wedding

Euurrgghhh! Possibly one of the most pointless mash ups to appear this year is already here. Nothing special has been done to the Idol vocal part other than some generic synths and beats added to the backdrop. It's pretty much Idol if he had been produced by any 80's pop go-to guy. The vocal free parts are tolerable but really not worth the effort.

Additional remixes by Jack Rokka and WAWA impress a little more but that chorus guitar part sounded cheesy in the first place and doesn't work in a commercial TMF friendly dance piece. Nor does Billy's voice. Please take note: 'White Wedding' should never be used in dance music - ever! Luckily the Filthy Rich Dub mix has no trace of the vocals and the riff is used sparingly. So that's pretty much a mix of 'Is Anybody Out There', the track of which 'White Wedding' has been mixed with. One saving grace on a six track disc? Pants.       

Nick Burman


Exit Avenue - A Thousand Odd Lines

One of the worst things about a band with a peculiar sounding name getting big is that PR people seem to spawn tens of little replicas. Now imagine said 'band' is Enter Shikari and you've got the context of which Exit Avenue enter the musical scene. Me reviewing this is much like a dog orientated journalist writing about cats. They might love animals in general but one species will always be more alien to them than the other. On that note let me just say that while most of this material seems like a twisted euro pop entry 'Sweet Sixteen' stands out as a track with decent musicality and their most poetic lyrics. Don't hold you're breath for the 11th February release date though.

Nick Burman


Situationists - This City Holds Us All EP (Tough Love) 

Sheffield’s Situationists draw a neat line connecting the wry lyrical wit of Maximo Park and the sheer melodic joy of The Libertines. Recently seen supporting the Futureheads, they’ve also recorded and XFM Session and have featured on Channel M. Such weighty support suggests this is a group who are going places. 

Their first demo was recorded using “two microphones bought from Poundland”, but don’t be fooled by their roots; there’s tuneful meat on these arty bones. The great thing about this band is that the ideas never get in the way of a good old fashioned pop tune. 

Their latest EP’s title track is a glorious slice of the kind of indie music that used to be made back when Britpop was meaningful; unusual chords, clever time signatures, but everything’s there for a reason. 

Comprende! is a great illustration of the lyrical diversity of the band. Andy Partridge would be proud of the refrain “I’ve compiled a list of the things holding you back”, blasted repeatedly by singer Sam over a chorus of rising guitars, handclaps and snares. 

We Are Weightless is a little more rock by numbers, but there are interesting touches, not least the tasty drum and guitar break two minutes in. Close Whiskey and Water rounds off the EP nicely; the sound is a little reminiscent of Bloc Party in a mellow mood with some astonishing drumming and gentle vocals spinning poetry over the top. 

Altogether this is an impressive EP; it’s well produced, lyrically sound and bursting with ideas. What more do you want?

Chris Moffatt


Les Savy Fav - Patty Lee (Wichita) 

New York scenesters with a too-trendy name, LSF straddle the underground indie scene and plastic world of pop like a cool Bono. They seem to have been around for years, and somehow retain the freshness and mystique that we demand of our New Favourite Bands. They’re lauded by the popular music press and mentioned as an influence by any Art Rock band worth their salt. But ultimately it’s the music that does the talking, and this single really isn’t up to scratch. 

LSF are a band with an interesting history, which encompasses the hard punk sound of Fugazi and the reggae skank of The Specials. Their most recent work has become more “accessible” (i.e. watered down). You get the impression that they used to have something to say, but now mortgages and babies have come in the way of all that youthful nonsense. 

Patty Lee is an instantly forgettable track that owes more to fellow New Yorkers the Scissor Sisters than Les Savy Fav would like to admit. Sure, there’s the riffs are likeable enough, the vocals are competent, and there’s nothing wrong with the musicianship. But the song’s not really saying anything. It holds your interest for a moment, but soon you find yourself playing with the hi-fi remote, or trying to find a new feature on your phone. 

In short, this band has done better. The album “Inches” (a compilation of the band’s single releases) is a much better place to start.

Chris Moffatt


Cage the Elephant – In One Eat (Relentless/DSP) 

Sounding like a cross between Beastie Boys and a Britpop band, Cage the Elephant certainly are something new from the current offerings. They’re ballsy, rough around the edges, and definitely rock and roll. The vocals are delivered in a style that sits somewhere Kings of Leon, Audioslave and The Strokes. The guitar riffs are as dirty as you like with lashings of distortion when required. Altogether a breath of smokey, pot-laced, whiskey flavoured air.
Listen to 'In One Ear' [right click and 'save as']

Catriona Boyle


Madding Crowd – Celebration (Billy’s Back) (Alegria Records) 

This song bills itself as ‘joyous’. The only joyous part I could detect was when it finished. And as much as everyone loves The Specials, no-one does The Specials better than The Specials, so why bother trying? The saxophone sounds dated and out of place, and whilst there might be a market for this stuff, the same formula can really only work for a decade or so before it’s time to try something new. A Celebration this is not.

Catriona Boyle


Gabriella Cilmi – EP (Island Records)

This slightly mysterious EP with no title features Gabriella’s last single, the delicious Sweet About Me. With a rich, warm voice Gabriella should have a place amongst other strong emerging female artists like Duffy. Her songs intertwine classic ‘woman scorned’ lyrics, blues, and timeless pop. And you can forget Winehouse for the next Bond theme, Cigarettes and Lies proves that Gabriella’s voice would be perfect for the job. In the space of five tracks, Gabriella showcases her versatility as a song writer, singer, and all round damn good artist.

Catriona Boyle


Fabonacci – The Boundaries  

With a name that sounds like something you’d have it with chicken in a faux-Italian restaurant, the band themselves sound like faux-musicians. I seem to find myself saying this a lot, but quite frankly this band needs to have their batteries replaced, have their handle cranked, or receive electric shock therapy. Whilst slow and epic ballads can be beautiful and poignant, that doesn’t mean singing a song slowly makes it sound better.

These songs are pretension personified, a band so taken with the sound of their own instruments that they draw it out for as long as possible. Perhaps from here on in any song wanting to be taken seriously should have a minimum of 120 beats per minutes to weed out this kind of meandering, self important rubbish.

Catriona Boyle


Various - Filthy Little Angels Singles Club EP3 (Filthy Little Angels)

This collection of EPs from Filthy Little Angels is a fairly mixed bag with the very limited edition lo-fi guitar pop songs of the Pro Action Replay EP from Captain Polaroid a personal favourite due to Captain’s honest and witty lyrics and simple but fuzzy guitar, making his songs well worth a listen. 

He also provides relief from the frantic, buzzing punk energy of The Leatherettes on the Johnny Thunders EP who sound like The Long Blondes waking up in bed with The Ramones the morning after. In a good way.  

Also featured are the on occasion weird but also on occasion inspiring synth backed tunes from The Colt. 45s on the Stockholm Syndrome EP. Strong vocals and spacey sound of the title track make it the stand out from the set of three songs.

Chris Sharpe


Steven Lindsay - Monkey Gone To Heaven (Echo) 

This piano led track by Glasgow based singer songwriter Steven Lindsay – the first release from new album Kite, is a carefully and delicately constructed cover of the Pixies fan favourite. Steven’s haunting voice drifts over soft piano and strings. A quiet, chilled and relaxed song for those contemplative moments, that with radio play and coverage could quite easily make Lindsay popular in today’s music climate. Whilst not perhaps being strikingly original and different this is definitely not a bad addition to a music repertoire in particular for fans of Damien Rice and The Fray.

Chris Sharpe


The Deathset - ‘MFDS’ (Counter)

‘MFDS’ (Mother Fucking Deathset) is a four track EP which lasts a miniscule but ballistic five and a half minutes.  Each track is an aggressive bombardment of well structured noise that aims to get the listener up on their feet within the first bleep and in seconds thrown into a two man mini punk riot. This is a musical attack of the best kind, and as tuneful head nodding guitars whirl around a tangled harsh selection of mechanical beats and samples it’s clear that The Deathset will have a lasting impact.

If you’re into Hadouken then don’t be because punk rock, indie raving lunatics The Deathset are far better and although not “Grindie” track four on this EP does suggest that they are pretty ghetto at times. So I urge you don’t hesitate to get involved because once you’ve purchased this little gem then every other record in your collection will seem totally soft cock compared to it.

Amie Kimpton


Caribou – She’s the One (City Slang)

‘She’s the One’ is the second single to be taken from Caribou’s recent album, ‘Andorra.’ On the surface it can simply be heard as a dreamy pop song, but on closer listening the extensive layers become obvious. It is difficult to explain just how much is going on this song – it is layered brilliantly and new things can be heard on each listen. Harmonies, woodwind decorations, samples and soaring string swells are all included with gorgeous results, without taking the spotlight from the light melody.

The Hot Chip remix adds continual beats and a heavier bass line, but the prettiness of the original song still shines through.

The main part of Kelley Polar’s remix sees the song completely stripped down, uncovering just the breezy vocal harmonies to a pleasing effect. However, the slightly pretentious spoken parts scattered throughout and the string arpeggios can be distracting in places.

Overall this is a delightfully introspective pop song taken from an enchantingly summery album – definitely worth a listen.

Yasmin Prebble


Hercules & Love Affair -  ‘Blind’ (EMI /DFA)

Hercules & Love Affair this, Hercules & Love Affair that! Blimey there really has been a frightful amount of excitement surrounding this release, but it has to be said it is quite the impressive effort. The man behind it all is New York DJ and producer Andrew Butler AKA Hercules, and his Love Affair comprising of friends from the New York scene. This particular Love Affair it seems is one that’s very much unexpected, one that you wouldn’t normally associate with the shimmers and shakes of the dance floor and definitely one you couldn’t imagine ripping up a pure disco inferno. Never the less this hasn’t stopped Anthony of Anthony and the Johnsons getting involved.

However not everything is out of sync. Anthony’s bluesy opera like voice that constantly flirts between masculine and feminine in the space of a quiver remains, but this time it’s to the tune of bouncy bass, subtle bleeps and slinky horns, inspired no doubt by those hot stepping dancing days of classic disco, with a splash of present day techno just to keep us on our toes.

‘Blind’ is therefore, without any qualms the hottest dance track of 2008 up to now, so it’s probably best that you stretch out those stiff wintery limbs and prepare your body for some serious boogie abuse. It’s probably wise to remember though that when this Andrew Butler beat is thrown into the mix it’s likely you WILL spasm out so don’t overdo it as this is only a slice of what Hercules & Love Affair can achieve. Look out for the self titled debut album due in March.

Amie Kimpton


Common People - Monday Morning Blues (Davali Entertainment)

Chart pap drivel whinging on about Monday mornings, junk mail and other tedium. A waste of my time and a waste of yours. If you want the soundtrack to 9 to 5 then listen to Napoleon IIIrd's 'Hit Schmooze For Me'.



Scrim - Talking in Code EP (Black Moon)

Still haven't knocked the dodgiest name in music on the head unfortunately. Scrim strike me as one of those bands full of really accomplished musicians who have made a very good recording here but still have an EP of unmemorable songs. Apart from an impressive piece of guitar shredding in title track 'Talking in Code' I can't remember a single musical element from the rest of the disc. More effort in the song writing department needed.



Queen Kong - So Brand New / Bourgeois

Queen Kong have brushed off 2006's 'So Brand New' and re-delivered it here - all deliciously scuzzy tech noire a la early Depeche Mode yet with electro club vibe that could get your feet shuffling, albeit uncomfortably, from side to side on the dance floor. 'Borgeois' sees the Kong rock out a bit more - there are some flutey synths at play in the background, but mainly just big slabs of meaty guitar in the choruses which shudder and jolt against the lighter, airy chorus. Again harking back to the mid 80s sounds of U2 and goth bands but with a contemporary twist. With a really weird remix track included as well, if you didn't get Queen Kong's 'The Leech' last tie round then this single is definitely worth a punt (which would have been a very clever pun if Ireland hadn't started using Euros - damn those pesky Europeans).



Power Lords - Lords of the Strong (Big in Ukraine)

Simple really - if you think that Eurovision and Europop are great then you may like this. If you don't? Well just scroll down now as it is musically devoid of any new ideas. Reminds me a bit of going out in towny pubs in Cleethorpes about 15 years ago. Maybe it is supposed to be ironic.



Victoria Hart - Mood Swings EP (Discrete)

Who the hell stumps up the cash for cruise ship singers like Victoria Hart to record a CD (on clear plastic no less) and distribute in luxurious full colour sleeves? Why why why people? I listened to her version of Hendrix's 'Little Wing' out of morbid curiosity and felt slightly soiled to have witnessed such a shameful exercise. It's a good job I've just quaffed a de-tox tea.



The Rascals – Suspicious Wit (Delta Sonic Records)

Good friends with the Arctic Monkeys, I was expecting something very similar from The Rascals. But I've been pleasantly surprised. There's no chirpy guitar licks and cheeky laddish remarks, it's altogether a much darker story. There's still a bit of a Northern accent going on, understandably, but the words aren't spoken at a hundred words per second. Despite the heaviness, the pace is far calmer than expected, and it's pretty good. It's a shame there isn't a b-side here, I'm intrigued as to the rest of their material. A simple heavy indie blend, refreshing on many fronts, and a good platform to launch a potentially exciting musical career. 8/10
For: People who are bored with everything sounding the same these days, despite loving indie.
Not for: Gary Barlow, Prince Charles, or Paul McCartney.
Watch the video to 'Suspicious Wit'

Thom Curtis


The Blakes – Two Times (Light In The Attic)

After a misleading intro that really sounds like it's going somewhere exciting, I wouldn't be lying if I said the single takes a turn for the worse. With Jack-White-esque vocal attempts, the backing track of simple indie wonderment contrasts quite violently with the singing. Screech-like calls would be more fitting over something a little heavier, such as the Hives for example, however over such tame undertones, it all seems a little over the top. And just when you're growing to like it, Meg White joins in on the drums and you're crashed, smashed, and splashed to death. The first time you listen to it, these sorts of things stand out, however it's a tune to grow on you, I think.

And as is often the case, the b-side is far better than the single itself, however I can understand why "Two Times" was released as the lead song, instead of "Die." The b-side, although retaining my favourite vocal sound of track one, find a melody from a second vocal which carries the song through until the end. It's actually bloody good. Something a bit Beatle-ish about it, oof, it's got my vote.

Interesting to hear what the rest of their material is like, really.
6 out of 10.
watch the video to 'Two Times'

Thom Cutis


Those Dancing Days – Hitten (Radar Maker)

Exactly what you'd expect from a band tagged as a "Swedish teen pop sensation." Wishy washy nonsense, perfect as the soundtrack to young love. You know, the fourteen year olds who go and sit down the park making daisy chains, playing on the swings, and drinking cheap cider. The guy's got too much hair and a spotty face, wearing a hoodie, and the girl is head to toe in purchases from Claire's Accessories. Okay, I've painted the picture, now, down to business. Gentle happy-snappy guitar and drums lay the backing to a chirpy synth, fluttering over the top. The female vocals are tuneful and talented, yet not particularly exciting, in comparison to the music at least. It's just lacking something. Oomph, va-va-voom, call it what you like. It's things like this that suggest Sweden is still trying to churn out another Abba, blissfully unaware that the musical world has moved on.

The b-side, "Tasty Boy" is a bit more up beat, but still has the synth undertones which are slightly annoying. I'm not miserable, honest, but sometimes not everything has to be happy happy happy. 5 out of 10.
For: Swedish people, kids, anyone who is angry at my bitter review.
Not for: Rockers, indie kids, someone recently bereaved and looking for music of a similar mood.

Thom Curtis


Projekt A-Ko - "Nothing Works Twice"/Horowitz - "Sweetness, I Could Die In Your Arms"  – (Filthy Little Angels)

Firstly, come two tracks from Projekt A-Ko. I get the feeling that the fact everything on the single "Nothing Works Twice" are out of tune deliberately. That's the hip and happening sound, isn't it. There's something quite nice about the guitar screeching over the heavy bass that runs throughout, it shouldn't work but it does so well. The vocals over the top are somewhat monotonous, and flitter in an out of working perfectly and sounding dreadful, with a female backing making sure the song retains at least a hint of sanity. It's a grower. It's like indie music but everyone has a distortion or fuzz pedal on, turning the backing track into a crunchy mess. Interesting.

The following track "Goodbye Sunlight," flicks the Vs at crunch, and heads back to alternative indie goodness. Imagine Graham Coxon collaborating with the Doves, if you can. It isn't riveting from start to finish but it's all very musical and can't really be faulted on that front. 6 out of 10
For: Really lazy people who thought Brit Pop was a bit too exciting for them.
Not for: People who literally bum innovative music.

The second half of this release is from Horowitz. Who remembers the Thrills? Had one or two songs then nobody heard of them again? Horowitz have taken a leaf out of their book when it comes to sound, cheery indie plucks beneath breathy vocals. They also sound quite similar to another band, The Boyfriends, if you've heard of them. All in all, it seems like such a shame to drown out seemingly decent music with half-arsed vocals, but maybe I'm old fashioned.

It's lucky this CD is ordered the way it is, otherwise you'd never hear Projekt A-Ko after ejecting the disk during Horowitz's "Hug Target," which sounds like it's come straight off of a kids TV show, sung by puppets. Crikey. 4 out of 10
For: People who watch the re-runs of Basil Brush.
Not for: You.

Thom Curtis


Vincent Vincent and the Villians - Pretty Girl (EMI/Capitol) 

Vincent Vincent and the Villians are the kind of band that Nathan Barley would love. Their mock-DIY image and lo-fi sensibilities have been expertly crafted by the finest marketing minds at EMI, and they’ve put something in your drink to make you love them. 

This single comes across like Marty McFly playing Johnny B Goode in Back To The Future. It’s a sweet Rock and Roll pastiche that you feel would go down really well with amateur dramatics groups; it’s both entertaining and embarrassing in equal quantities. 

Indie kids with brightly coloured hoodies and artistic hair will fawn over this band like flies to manure, but the canny music purchaser would do far better to hunt down some decent 50’s vinyl and stick to the real deal.

Watch video to 'Pretty Girl'

Chris Moffatt


Gallows - Just because You sleep Next To Me Doesn’t Mean You’re Safe 

Gallows were the breakthrough band of 2007 and there are no signs of them slowing down. With new single ‘Just because you sleep next to me doesn’t mean you’re safe’ due to be released at the end of February it is something just to wet the appetite of their fans. The band currently on tour with Set Your Goals and are preparing four exclusive dates at the 100 club, this is just the beginning of 2008 for Gallows. After a collaboration with Lethal Bizzle many people had lost some respect for the band and believed them to have sold out, but this single is a return to form. Returning to their hardcore/D.I.Y/punk roots with pure aggression driving the song forward. With gritty guitars and fast drumming this is the music that brought Gallows to the front in 2007 and will keep them at the top through 2008. 
Watch the video to 'Just because You sleep Next To Me Doesn’t Mean You’re Safe'

Tim Birkbeck


The Dirty Looks – You Decide 

In the haphazard world of self-produced demo reviewing, you can come across some utter stinkers. Honestly, you could create better tunes on a toy Flintstones phone with someone accompanying you with one of those wooden fish with the ridges on. Such is life, and by the time you actually want to hear something that’s new, music’s moved on.

Apparently female singer-songwriters from dahn Sarf are all the rage in 2008 (at least if the Brits are anything to go by) and so The Dirty Looks find themselves in something of an invidious position, being Welsh, a bunch of lads and a keen line in catchy hooks. The principal track on this offering, ‘Belong’, is what I would term a real key-tapper, with its jaunty good-time rhythm and complete lack of regard for media style.

While the Dirty Looks offer nothing new (there was more than one track that I had to compare to an earlier one off The La’s solitary debut album), they’re just your average cheeky local band and however far that gets them, good luck to them. I’d rather have a band like this than a bunch of whinging social commentators in tea dresses and garish tights. You know who I’m talking about. 

Chris Stanley


30 Seconds to Mars – From Yesterday 

Jared Leto has written an absolutely awesome song here!!!! After a great 2007 this could be an even better year where the band become more established and their huge following gets even bigger. The second year is usually a lot harder for a band but it doesn’t look like this for 30 Seconds to Mars having sold out 12 dates across the UK and Ireland including two nights at Hammersmith Apollo. From Yesterday is a song that can really catch you by surprise as it’s not what you expect from a rock band, the song accommodates for most tastes. The lead locals are extremely powerful plus the awesome drumming is a added bonus! I would definitely suggest that you go out and buy this single plus the album A Beautiful Lie!!! 

Lewis Carter


James Severy - Do the Circus Circus 

You know all those superlatives that Kate Nash and Jamie T get thrown at them, by the kind of people who care deeply about the Mercury Music Prize and treat Q magazine as some sort of lost gospel? Well James Severy actually is all those things. Mixing folk and hip-hop influences, without ever letting you see the join, this single manages to sound both jaunty and wistful simultaneously, which is no mean feat. A cockney knees-up for the damned.

Andy Glynn


Jaymay - Gray or Blue 

"Matuhitso Industries are pleased to announce the release of the Folk-bot 2008! The result of many hours of exhaustive market research and the latest advances in acoustic technology we think you'll be amazed with the latest version of our popular fembot. Here at the Matuhitso Corporation, our customers happiness is our top priority and we've taken onboard certain technical issues certain customers may have had with previous versions of the Folk-bot. Please be assured that the Sandi Thom situation was a one-off and we've now addressed those problems.  


            •  Now fully Radio 2 compatible!
            •  More energy efficient - Even less energy exerted during the singing of songs.
            • Comes complete with full set of 'Issues', 'Insight' and 'Sincerity.' 

Perfect for your local coffee shop or open mike night, the Folk-bot 2008 is your all-in-one background music solution. Upgrade today!  

Satoshi Muiri
Matuhitso Industries

Andy Glynn


Horowitz - I Need a Blanket 

A fuzzy, day-glow, lovelorn sigh, with references to Sonic Youth and Saturday morning kids TV - its hard to imagine how Horowitz could be any more indie without actually being Steve Lamacq. The production's a bit 'off' on this single, but it doesn't disguise a band who can write short, pithy little pop songs at will. The 'Hello Kitty' Backpack brigade are gonna lap this up.   

Andy Glynn


Pepe Deluxe – Forgotten Knights (Catskill Records) 

Get up and dance merchants Pepe Deluxe are back, with a collection of songs to make you, well, get up and dance. OR at least come over all funky. Forgotten Knights is laid-back, swinging, and has a Jamiroquai influenced bassline. But don’t the last part against it. It then descends into the usual Pepe Delxue mad, mental, crazy instrumental  

The Mischief of Cloud Six is one of the highlights from their latest album. Footloose and fancy free, with just a touch of distortion, it truly is a unique piece of music. 

There are only a few people who should be allowed to release what happens when their imaginations run wild. Pepe Deluxe are them.

Catriona Boyle


Our Last Night - The Ghost Among Us 

Hollis, New Hampshire’s Our Last Night seem to be following a very popular trend which is happening across America at the moment, and that is to mix heavy riffs and vocals with melodic parts dotted here and there throughout their songs. It is a formula which has proven successful for many bands, but it just seems a little bit predictable. Our Last Night do pull it off very well, as a band they are very tight and do produce some great songs, such as closing track ‘The Messenger’ where everything just seems to fit for the band. The band are carried by strong vocals from Trevor Wentworth ,who joined the band age 11. It is clearly down to his improvement that the band have gained strength.The band are well known for their live shows and are building a strong fan base in America. There will surely be lots of fans across the world who will be enthusiastic about what Our Last Night are doing. Unfortunately, there is a sense that it is nothing that hasn’t already been done by another band.  A sad thing, really for what could be a promising  young band.   

Tim Birkbeck


The B-52s - Funplex 

I couldn’t put my finger on it. As Fred Schneider chanted “Faster Pussycat” and rollicked about wonderbras and ATM machines, it came flooding back. It’s 1994, I’m 7-years old and Fred is singing “meet the Flintstones”. I’m desperately trying to think of other contributions by B-52s members: R.E.M’s Shiny Happy People or Iggy Pop’s Candy. It certainly is an unmistakable vocal style, but for me, it belongs to my childhood cinema trip and does not allow for them to be singing about “sex”, oh no!  

Maybe I’m just not ‘fun-loving’ enough to let my guard down and embrace the dance-beats “pumped up to hot pink”, unashamed big wigs (eat your hair out Amy Winehouse) and crass pop noise. This single is definitely not a radical move for this band: they’re sticking to what they do, erm, best? This renders their pop-electronica essentially out-dated, and not in a cool-retro-vintage way. They’re making some festival appearances and even doing a UK tour, so watch out for “yabba-dabba-doos” and be prepared to feel propelled into an underage disco club night. 

Jenny Williams


Royworld - Man in the Machine 

Pounding drumbeats, clean cut piano and guitar riffs: yes, boys and girls, we’ve heard this before. The opening is very reminiscent of ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’. The song opens cheekily: “Dave, is there something wrong?” indeed, everyone knows a Dave, but no one knows anything like Royworld: they certainly are an odd bunch.  

At times it sounds like Jack Black may have taken over the vocals in lead singer, Rod Futrille’s, mocking delivery. His vocal performance is even slightly disturbing, especially to the backdrop of music similar to that of The Feeling, Keane and Scouting For Girls. But I like it for that: the way Rod Futrille sings “machinery” is so bolshy it works.  

It reminded me of something Focus might do, mainly for all its poptastic eccentricities, in the style of 'Sylvia/Hocus Pocus' from 1972 (without the yodelling). Who knows if this band will commercially rocket or plummet, I appreciate Royworld for taking me by surprise. After all, that’s what pop is all about, right? 
Watch 'Man in the Machine' performed at Camden Barfly

Jenny Williams


Coheed and Cambria - Feathers 

Coheed and Cambria are, apparently, New York’s “progressive heroes”. ‘Feathers’ is the first single from their new album, ‘No World for Tomorrow’, which, interestingly, is based around lead singer, Claudio Sanchez’s comic books called The Amory Wars, formerly known as The Bag On Line Adventures, and conceptually links their albums.    

Claudio Sanchez's energetic vocals and belting melodies label this song as a progressive rock anthem, and with tight knit harmonies characteristic of American emo, all it requires is several hundred emo kids swaying in time to qualify it to ‘anthem’ status. I’m not sure this is what Genesis had in mind for the future of progressive rock’s concept albums, and I don’t think Coheed and Cambria would appreciate their inevitable association with ‘emo’ in their claim to the more credible ‘progressive rock’. 

However, the fact that Taylor Hawkins (from the Foo Fighters) plays drums on this record grants it serious credibility; surely he wouldn’t sit in on a wimpy ‘emo’ band? Coheed and Cambria are not jumping on the emo-band wagon (even if they do sound like they are). They have ideas at least and creativity should never be punished. Unfortunately, however, perhaps their ideas are stronger than their music. 

Jenny Williams