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singles/eps - march 2008



Johnny Foreigner - “Our Bipolar Friends” 

The first single to be taken from the most eagerly awaited album in history (probably), “Our Bipolar Friends” opens with a mellow female vocal that lulls you into a false sense of security before blazing guitars and exploding drums crash in to the mix to prove why this Birmingham band are worthy of your time, money and ears.  Swirling guitar lines, frenzied drums and pummeling bass intertwine seemingly without effort while the male-female vocal dynamic is refreshing rather than gimmicky.  Sounding like the anthem that kids on caffeine would crash pensioner bingo parties to, music this fun should probably be illegal.  Thankfully, it’s not, and on B-Side “The Houseparty Scene Is Killing You” J-Fo prove once again why they are one of the most exciting bands around; it’s a slightly more restrained affair with wirey guitars, jerky rhythms and handclaps that’s highly original.  On the strength of this release alone Johnny Foreigner could steal your heart and restore your faith in music, and possibly mankind.  That is, if they haven’t already done so.

John Sherman

 
 

The Elvis Suicide - Surveying the Young Professionals/ If I Don’t Run 

Fast, up beat and catchy. That’s exactly what The Elvis Suicide are. The band clearly know the values of classic rock n’ roll and they are combining that with quick punk riffs. Their music may appear very basic on the surface but this is one talented band, who are trying to do something different from every other band around. This double A side single is very fast paced with 1 minute and 40 seconds of opening track ‘Surveying the young professionals’ there is a barely time to catch your breath before The Elvis Suicide jumps right into ‘If I don’t run’. Even though the single only lasts for 10 minutes, they are 10 very enjoyable minutes that enjoyment increases every time it is listened to. If this single is anything to judge by then The Elvis Suicide are definitely going to make an impact on the British music scene.

Tim Birkbeck

 

The Kills - Cheap And Cheerful

After nearly disappearing into the void of hype first time round and now in danger of their music once again being overlooked as the male half of the duo dates Kate Moss The Kills have a lot of contrived media shtick to get through in order to get their music noticed. They do have one of the best sounds around right now though. 'Cheap and Cheerful' is a deceptively short, spunky sprint of how to write a decent pop song. Utterly re-listenable as Alison Mosshart pours her sexy vocals all over the off beat drum loops. Super cool and super model girlfriends may be some unwanted prefixes which follow The Kills round, but for your ears they're super good.
Watch the video to 'Cheap and Cheerful'
www.thekills.tv

Nick Burman

 

Neon Neon - I Lust U

The latest work from Super Furry Animals main man Gruff Rhys away from the band which made his name. A departure from last years Candylion solo treck this is full to the brim with 80's synth pop and drum loops. Welsh singer Cate Le Bon meanwhile shows the 'Brit School' hopefuls what talent really is. 'I Lust U' is a sprawling electric love song with all the heart any acoustic guitar could offer. The B-Sides really don't add anything but until we can hear the full album Gruff Rhys and friends have whet our appetites once again.
www.myspace.com/neonx2

Nick Burman

 
 

The Humanity - Bass Linear

Popping out of nowhere with the best single I've heard all month The Humanity show that music can be big, brash and meaningful.

Bass Linear mixes lyrics of wit and intellect "a fleeting flirt as the train pulled in... framed by the very worst of architecture" with raging drums and anti-climatic synths to create the most intelligent noise so far this year. B-Side 'Hollywood' sounds promising but could do with a little more production (and you don't hear that very often) to get up to scratch with the A-Side.

The Humanity appear to be a band on a mission and there aren't too many of them around today. if they keep making tracks like this then they should have no trouble finding an audience.
Watch the video to 'Bass Linear'

Nick Burman

 
 

Heads We Dance - 3 Track sampler

I don't know if it is just something to do with the whole kind of electro genre but there seems to be something undeniably glamorous about Heads We Dance. They've even got their very own retro-cool graphics which look somewhere between Flash Gordon and the Dance to the Radio logo.

Sticking out like a not too sure thumb from all the spiky indie guitar bands in Leeds, Heads We Dance also seem very well connected - this EP is mixed by ex-U2 and New Order producer Simon Gogerly). If soon-to-be uber camp single 'Love in the Digital Age' makes you think they might be a bit twee then the harder 'Work it Out' with it's pounding drums and tumbling keyboard lines provides a bit of sinister boot. Demo closer 'You Are Never Alone with Model 21' sits somewhere in between the two.

Undeniably catchy and a welcome addition to the sparse Leeds electro scene, Heads We Dance could find themselves onto a nice little winner with this sampler.
www.myspace.com/headswedance

SB

 
 

Ida Maria - “Stella” (Waterfall/RCA Label Group) 

Norwegian twenty-three year old Ida Maria is in possession of the kind of voice that you imagine must’ve crackled through the long, dark days of her Arctic Circle upbringing, sending locals chasing shadows to find where this ethereal sound was coming from.  It hasn’t taken her long to beguile these shores either, with support from Steve Lamacq and a spot on Jools Holland last month already in the bag.

Thankfully, Ida is not your tyical “next big thing” – there are no cocky, hoody-style lyrics that her peers like to happy-slap us around the ears with.  She skirts around the note-perfect sweetness of Eva Cassidy too.  On the fun-loving title track, Ida is more like Courtney Love circa “Doll Parts”, not afraid to let her voice waiver, break or falter at the fragile close.  

The Janis Joplin comparisons seem most apt on “In The End” as using just her voice, her guitar and some gentle backing vocals, there is a sense of forgotten glories on this folkie lament.  With a final splash of piano, a hauntingly beautiful, strikingly simple song is formed. 

Final track “Small People’s Smiles” is the kooky little sister of the piece, a fizzing yap of a finale that makes a big point of noticing the small things and really makes you feel that this is the real Ida – mischievous and a little bit mental.
www.myspace.com/idamaria

Watch the video to 'Stella'

Stu Bowen

 
 

We Are Scientists - After Hours (Virgin)

As an unashamed massive fan of the album 'With Love and Squalour' it was going to be intriguing to see how We Are Scientists approached the 'difficult second album' and also the loss of their drummer Mike Tapper. Now I don't know if the undeniably talented and handsome frontman Keith Murray has evoked hitherto unknown homo-erotic thoughts in my mind or just that WAS are actually really good but 'After Hours' is a really doozy. With the aid of an additional guitarist, some nice keyboards and a mellower production, this track has all the charm and melodies of their previous singles but smoothes over any rough edges that were present in the likes of 'Great Escape' and 'Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt'. Proper grown up music.
www.wearescientists.com
Watch the video for 'After Hours'

SB

 
 

The Kooks - Always Where I Need To Be (Virgin)

If like me you generally steer clear of any band whose name begins with the prefix “The…” and whose jeans are so tight that you can tell what religion they are, this offering from The Kooks might (begrudgingly) change your mind.

An unseasonably summery offering from the Brighton boys and NME darlings and the first release from new album “Konk”, light, airy guitars waft over the doo-wop chorus, crafting what, at the end of the day is a bloody good pop song.  It is harder to shake off than a randy dog but, as with any band currently enjoying heavy radio airplay, there is always that danger it will be played to death and by the time the weather turns to match the spring-like feel of the music, we’ll all be thoroughly fed up with it.
www.kooks.co.uk
Watch the video to 'Always Where I Need to Be'

Stu Bowen

 

Fightstar - Floods (Gut Records) 

You have to hand it to Fightstar; whether their songs are good or bad, they still incite more opinionated drivel from the music press than a thousand other bands of their ilk.  So as promised, here is the opinionated drivel surrounding their new single “Floods”!

Firstly, let’s start with the good stuff.  “Floods” is basically a good song - the Muse-style piano, the growing stature of Charlie Simpson as a vocalist, the omitted screaming that has marred a song or two of their back catalogue and the brave move to depart to more acoustic ground for this offering, all suggest a band progressing and evolving.  

However, read between the lines and you can’t help feeling preached to.  You see, “Floods” is about, well, floods (it is used in an imminent, apocalyptic two-part mini-series about London battling global warming), and was inspired by Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth”.  Now, whilst this is a worthy and notable subject matter, last single “Deathcar” was written after front man Simpson saw a news article about Chinese death row prisoners being simultaneously transported, sliced open and volunteered as transplant donors for the benefit of the sick and ill!  So “Floods” feels a little too obvious and contrived, like we’ve had the morality and current affairs lesson for the week, bring on the ROCK!  Musically, it is let down on this release by a relatively weak “Floatation Therapy”, but is redeemed by an instrumental which, without the sermon from Simpson, actually makes you appreciate the good bits again.

Whilst it is commendable for a rock band to a) change their sound so dramatically and b) address a subject of global importance, you end up removing the CD hoping that Simpson doesn’t watch Bambi on DVD next otherwise we will have a song about the fur trade and unlawful killing of doe-eyed mammals on our hands.  I want my rock music to rock!  I want my rock music to be from the heart and from experience, not about whether I should recycle or not!
www.fightstar.com

Watch the video to 'Floods'

Stuart Bowen 

 
 

Temposhark - Blame (Paper + Glue)

Apart from sounding a bit like Brian Molko you can see what the press release is getting at when it describes Temposhark as being in the ilk of Depeche Mode. Slightly Kraut rock influences, vibrato vocals and uncomfortably jerky rhythms. But whereas the Mode were light, light, DARK; Temposhark are much more dark, dark, LIGHT. Their happy go luck choruses make their more sinister verses seem like a welcome mistake rather than. More Ronan than Gahan. Lots of remixes including one by Metronomy though, so chances are you will find something in there which might whet your whistle.
www.temposhark.com

SB

 

Levellers - A Life Less Ordinary / The Cholera Well (On the Fiddle)

Levellers do what Levellers do. Folk punk some might say. Shanty rock would be another description. 'A Life Less Ordinary' would fit snugly at your local ceilidh or indeed your local rock pub (if they could squeeze their fiddles in without raising suspicions too much. But the words 'flogging', 'dead, and 'horse' spring to mind.
www.levellers.co.uk

SB

 
 

Lenny Kravitz - I'll Be Waiting (Virgin EMI)

Whoa - this must be the 90's tribute section - first the Levellers now the boy Kravitz. I've got to admit - I think I have a copy of the album 'Mama Said' lurking somewhere in the deepest recesses of my scullery but this review was more out of morbid curiosity than anything else. And I wasn't disappointed (or I was - depending on your point of view). See, our Lenny has always had fine voice and a penchant for the dreamy yet uplifting ballad type of song. 'I'll Be Waiting' I'm sure is suppose to be some poignant tribute to someone or something but aside from the couple of chords he lifted straight off 'Butterfly' I reckon this must have taken, ooh, say 25 minutes to write and record. Minimal effort=minimal reward in this case.
Watch the video to 'I'll Be Waiting'
www.lennykravitz.com

SB

 
 

Authors of Malicious Code - Part Five

The ambitious project to self release five EPs in one year has finally come to fruition, albeit slightly spilling over from 2007 into 2008.

At first listen I thought that maybe this self imposed target was showing itself and that the material in Part 5 sounded like a band out just to fulfil this target. But after a few listens you notice what has probably become AOMCs calling card - an uncanny knack of twisting a song melody and rhythm on its head and back again without sounding 'angular' or 'agit'.

Again, on 'Light's Out' AOMC seem to draw on Alice in Chains - the throbbing base and haunting Staley-esque vocals completing the picture. Hopefully the hard work is now complete and AOMC can spend 2008 beginning to reap the rewards.
www.myspace.com/aomc

SB

 
 

The Whip - Trash (Southern Fired)

Perhaps their masterpiece, 'Trash' is The Whip at the harder, more underground range of their spectrum. Still including an infectious bass and rhythm stomp and some nifty synths, there are also lashings of grungey vocals and an insanely infectious guitar hook. Where  'Divebomb' gently introduced you to the idea that there was life in the Manchester electro scene after Performance, 'Trash' firmly rubs your nose in it and refuses to be ignored.
www.myspace.com/thewhipmanchester

SB

 
 

Cheap Hotel - New York / High (Yacht)

Absence of any presence has left me in a state of confusion and a dabble on gulp, Myspace. I will go to hell. But it leads me to conclude that Cheap Hotel are three good looking London types who have put out a rather good arty punky little skiff with 'New York'. Sliding guitar lines and Polly Harvey-esque vocals are the name of the game. in fact, if the production was a bit more raw it would sound very 'Dry' indeed.

B-side 'High' is a far more sedate lounge style song which wanders around jazz and ballroom dance without really finding a suitable home. A bit of an artistic folly perhaps but there is enough promise in 'New York' to make it worth keeping tabs on Cheap Hotel.

SB

 
 

Kalliopi - Around the World

While this might be a perfectly creditable rock/pop effort and female vocalist Kalliopi has a good grasp of song writing, vocals and arrangement, the overall effect is less than evocative. It has an air of 'yester-rock' and a glance at the liner notes sees it was (c) 2005. A bit like playing an old Billy Idol tape that you found wedged down the back seat of your car.
www.kalliopi.eu.com

SB

 

Various: Four by Four More (Broken Tail)

After the success of the previous  Four by Four compilation EP I don't know why, but for some reason I was not expecting the nasally vocals of Tripwire to feature on this follow up. But after a few listens it is obvious there is something a little bit different about this band who seem to metamorphose out of generic indie into a bit of pseudo math rock with some fantastically intricate guitar parts on 'Kings and Queens'. Projekt A-KO by comparison clearly soak up their influences and squeeze them out on disc in 'Here Comes the challenger'. Featuring former members of Urusei Yatsura, Project A-KO turn on the fuzz like Dinosaur Jnr for the choruses and all is well.

The second two tracks form a suitable counterpoint. 'To the Barricades' is a wistful indie-folk piece with shimmering reverbs and guitars akin to Sheffield's now sadly defunct Ormondroyd. But the highlight for me is the short piece by Ben Marwood titled 'Question Marks?' Probably not in homage to Therapy? or Why Don't You?, 'Question marks?' has some lovely finger picked guitar and wistful melodies but has been given an overhaul by Mr Fogg. The result sounds part Napoleon IIIrd and part anti-folk.

So another fine quartet of sounds from Broken Tail to get your, err, ears into...
www.myspace.com/brokentailrecords

SB

 
 

The Brights - It Won't Be Long Now / Wear Your Art on Your Sleeve (Bitterscene)

Bright by name, bright by nature - the guitar twinkles and the bass bubbles on these two short tracks. That aside there isn't enough to keep me interested, it's all a bit throwaway indie-pop.
www.bitterscenerecords.co.uk

SB

 
 

Jay Sean - Maybe (2Point9/Jayded)

Jay Sean certainly has some impressive qualities. His crystal clear skin, his manicured eye brows, the way he can trim his sideburns to within a couple of millimetres of non-existence yet still leave them there. This single, however, is shite.

SB

 
 

Conil - Strange Part of the Country (Great Hare)

I've always had a soft spot for the Conil after hearing each of their previous releases. It may be my morose character that is attracted to this kind of black folk music. Although the double bass is in full effect on 'Strange Part of the Country', it is the off kilter melodies of previous single 'Dog Meat Stew' which really grabs the attention, a bit like an angry Damien Rice.
www.conilmusic.com

SB

 

Hush the Many - Revolve (Alcopop)

This track springs into life in a most unusual and refreshing way, almost like the band forgot to play along to Nima and Alex's perfectly intertwining vocals. 'Revolve' seems like a perfect title for a song with such a cyclical nature that ebbs and flows and for a band whose ever changing personnel gives them a constantly evolving and developing sound. It's slightly deranged, slightly nostalgic (especially the choral harmonies in the bridge) but mostly, very, very beautiful.
www.hushthemany.com
www.myspace.com/hushthemany

SB

 
 

Gamble Gamble - They're All Wrong EP (The Little Hellfire Club)

The first thing that struck me about Gamble Gamble was how similar to Bradford's Monty Casino they sound, except they seem to have spent a bit more money on production.  'Stones' sounds uncannily like MC's 'Gorbachev' and that is only a good thing.

'Animal Songs Aren't Dead' sounds nothing like the clatterpop that Gamble Gamble are supposed to practice. It has an altogether loungier feel with the gently strummed guitars and narrative vocals, that is, until it explodes into a Pablo Honey era Radiohead wall of scuzzy guitars. 'Attention! Bandits' doesn't sound that poppy either come to think of it, more rocking like the south coast's Everyone to the Anderson. It's full of interesting bass lines and time changes. But clatterpop is the best description for '...We Might have a Problem' which does what it says on the tin and clatters through 3 minutes of scratchy guitars in a gratifying voyage of oblivion.
www.myspace.com/gamblegamblemusic

SB

 

MGMT - Time to Pretend (Sony/BMG)

God I hate this song. That supremely annoying wibbly synth line which launches the otherwise plodding glamfest that sounds like The Polyphonic Spree on ecstasy. At what point do bands cease to be ironic and can they be accused of just peddling retro mush? I personally don't think it matters, as long as it is good mush. This is a big sound and it is annoyingly catchy but man it gets right on my nerves.
www.whoismgmt.com

SB

 
 

Middlehill - demo

'One of the most talked about bands emanating from the south coast, near Brighton' apparently. that is pretty specific. This three piece include elements of the Chili Peppers, especially in the very Frusciante guitar breaks and trills but the rest of the sound seems a bit undeveloped. There is some unadvisable use of the cow bell on 'You Talk Too Fast' which sees Middlehill try a little too hard to cram everything into, like it is some kind of signature theme. Again the drums sounds a bit too busy in 'Crazy Fool' like they have a point to prove.

Although it's not really my bag, the most effective song of the trio is 'Say What You Want' where the guitar rings beautifully like Hendrix in Electric Ladyland. The strength of this song is the more measured way in which Middlehill choose to showcase their various musical talents. At least for the first 2 minutes after which it all starts getting a bit tricksy again. It's Ok not to put everything you have into every record and maybe this is the way forward for Middlehill.
www.myspace.com/middlehill

SB

 
 

Lack of Afro feat. Steve Marriott - Touch My Soul (Freestyle)

I may be missing some subtle nuance here but rather than carving a 'new niche' for himself, isn't Lack of Afro just doing a, what the kids call, mash-up here? It is a good one though - a bit like a less commercially aware Moby or a lazy Norman Cook.
www.freestylerecords.co.uk

SB

 
 

Kila - Half Eight (Kila)

What the...I thought I might have accidentally been at the cooking sherry earlier again when this started. All the lyrics are, like, you know, in some foreign tongue. Is this Gaelic then? I don't want to instantly alienate any of our already meagre reader numbers but it sounds a bit like bushman language from the Kalihari in that it carries its own rhythm and meter. But aside from the strange lingo this is essentially just another folk fiddle song.
www.kila.ie

 

 
 

The Hustle - These Days

It never ceases to amaze me how many people can delude themselves into thinking that they are offering something meaningful to the public in terms of music. Only last night I had a fierce discussion about what is 'success' when you are in a band. Making the perfect record? Being commercially successful? Playing skilfully? A combination of them all? Our conclusion - that it was entirely down to the musicians themselves. Which would be fine for the Hustle if they wanted to do well played, well mixed but innocuous tracks that sound like they had their melodies lifted from a Paul Simon tune.
www.myspace.com/thehustlerock

SB

 
 

Peter Brame - The Alcoholic's Love Song (Impact)

Putting an end to that little run of disappointing releases above comes the melancholy-beyond-his years Pete Brame. A simple harrowing voice and guitar style depicts a world weary vision of hope in the face of adversity.
www.myspace.com/petebrame

SB

 
 

Silverfall - For You

Despite the somewhat threatening appearance of a large gentleman who looks like Woody Harrelson in Natural Born Killers looming in the background of their press pic, 'For You' remains infinitely welcoming. A booming but muted drum beat underpins a simple melody which is set alive by Jenny Bailey's vocals. All very Blue Room era Massive Attack - spartan yet rich at the same time. Very polished.
www.silverfall.info

SB

 
 

Sarah Toomey - Found

Let's face it - singer songwriters are ten-a-penny. It gets a bit tedious wading through all the mediocre ones without trying to sound too negative. But from the opening rich chords of  'Found' it is obvious that Claire Toomey has something about her. Not only a great song but that little bit of edge like a fledgling Alanis Morrissette or Avril Lavigne. Now if that comparison makes you wince then I urge you to give this acoustic EP a try - you may well be pleasantly surprised.
www.clairetoomey.com

SB


 

Blah Blah Blah - Death to the Indie Disco (KIDS)

A bit of a disappointment this - sounds like punk being sunk by the Fat Back Band - hardly as scary or threatening as it should be. A sideswipe at the fashionista side of the indie scene may be an admirable mission statement but this track just sounds a little bit too contrived to really hit home.

SB

 
 

Metronomy – Rapid

It’s hard to think of adjectives to describe how yet another electro/techno stomper sounds. ‘Rapid’ is nice enough, though when a radio edit of a song is used as filler you’re in trouble. ‘Matthias

Gathering’ sounds exactly the same as the latter just without a vocal part, while the slight acoustic version entitled ‘Primary 1’s love letter to Metronomy’ is an odd addition. There’s nothing to shout about. The Maton RETROMIX on the other hand shines as it builds the song up, turning the horns and the bass into the main source of the beat, here is the song Metronomy wanted you to dance to. “It must be love” the chorus goes, “it must be love, it must be love...”

Nick Burman

 
 

The Muvs- Best Friends 

The Muvs: the next London band to apparently command and conquer the media monsters. The latest track Best friend leaks (rather than oozes) a blues-tinted swagger masked behind an indie-pop outlook. Alright it’s catchy, but just boring. It’s cardboard taste breathes from over-used guitar riffs. Unlucky for The Muvs they don’t quite stimulate aural pleasure, better luck next time.

Erin Kubicki

 
 

Grace Solero - If U Feel (Wohone)

Aside their unwarranted use of txt spk to abbreviate what is already a short song title, there's something about the vocals that is preventing me from warming to this record. Ah yes, it's the fact that they sound at best like an asthmatic Skunk Anansie with their short jabby delivery and at worst like a cat in pain. Avoid.
www.myspace.com/gracesolero

SB

 
 

The Xcerts - Do You Feel Safe?/Listen, Don’t Panic (Mannequin Republic)

Note to self: turn headphones down lower than you would expect to have to before playing a new CD. After the initial shock and slight pain, I was greeted by a pleasing release from this Brighton three-piece. Hmm, I say pleasing, I can say more than that. The first track on this double A-side doesn’t break through new frontiers, but I like it all the same. They have the varying dynamics that I so like, and the singer can actually sing well with a very down-to-earth tone and regional lilt that I would imagine would endear him to all those who stand on the other side of the stage-front. The drums, guitar, and bass form a solid trio introducing variations on the continuing theme that provide all the ups and downs of a good Hollywood film about driving fast through empty streets high on teenage abandon.

The second A-side is something a little different. This is sparser. This has a glockenspiel. Despite this, it still manages to reach the same energy-laden heights as the first song, if only to set itself up for the sudden breakdown. I can imagine this track coming on at an indie club down the road, the crowds going mad at the suspiciously quiet opening bars because they know that within minutes they’ll all have the chance to unite in singing ‘c’mon c’mon c’mon’ with arms in the air before turning to each other to mouth the words ‘don’t panic’. Smiles all round.

Thom Corah

 
 

The Hungry i - Beginning is the end (Againstthemedia)

I like the Hungry i. Not afraid to treat us to over 6 minutes of instrumental that would be a commercial disaster for most bands. 'Beginning is the end' includes some additional texture in the form of the music box style guitars and live strings but this only enriches what is quite a bleak sound, like cold seeping into your bones. But cold can be a good thing, it keeps you alert for one thing, stops you getting lazy. The Hungry i pile on the layers and atmosphere with their electronic based post-rock in a very welcome manner.
www.thehungryi.co.uk

SB


 

Music Roll Exchange - Silverplated

First thoughts were that Music Roll Exchange was some scheme or strategy for swapping something, err musical and rolly. Strange choice of name. First listen to music was initial optimism for their bright Suedey guitars but was soon followed by scepticism and disappointment with the boxy sound quality of their recording. First review for Music Roll Exchange then - a bit raggedy but the seeds of something potentially fruitful.
www.myspace.com/musicrollexchange

SB

 
 

John Matthias - Blind (Counter)

There's an earthy quality to John Matthias that belies his at-times complex, production and sonic devilry. 'I Will Disappear' is based on a squeezebox drone which is further supplemented by Matthias' prodigiously deep delta-blues voice. There's a scattering of pots and pans percussion but in the main it is pretty simple and very effective. The staccato looped nature of the guitar line in 'Blind Lead the Blind' perfectly symbolises the contradictions of the new versus old sounds and this is furthered even more in 'Evermore' where a morose Matthias voices over a collection of shimmering beats and clean picked guitar. Anyone with an open mind will love this take on tech-folk.

SB

 
 

Jonjo Feather - I Suppose (Dead Young)

Although the name sounds like the son of an apache warrior, Jonjo Feather is actually from Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire. And at first listen there is nothing much spectacular or off kilter about 'I Suppose' - a steady descending chord progression. But there is a slight twist in the chorus which has a darker side while Feather incants 'I Suppose, I suppose...' We are told he likes to mess around with mic effects and guitar tunings but to me this single sounds a little bit raw - the cow bells and the vocal harmonies sound very up front while the scuzzy guitar and distorted main vocal is very background - but the two sets are very far apart and leave a bit of a disjointed feeling.

'Face by Your Window' is more atmospheric and ostensibly psychedelic retro guitar with stacks of reverb and echo. It doesn't really go anywhere but pleasantly washes around your speakers like, like, well, not much like anything you will hear at the moment so probably worth checking out this release for the B-side alone.
www.jonjofeather.com

SB

 
 

The Envy Corps - Story Problem (Vertigo)

It's official - 'Story Problem' reiterates the fact that The Envy Corps are bland bland bland. Tasty stalwart comrade Metcalf first detected their mediocre musings in February 2007 so why they have chosen to re-release this single is a mystery. Plodding, lazy and a rarity in that the normally superfluous instrumental version is actually better than the radio edit.
Watch the video to 'Story Problem'
www.myspace.com/theenvycorps

SB

 

Moby - Alice (Mute)

Firmly in the down tempo radio friendly mould of most of 'Play', 'Alice' features a low grumbling bassline and the fluid hip hop vocals of Aynzli from Nigerian outfit the 419 Squad. It's a credit to Ainzli that it is his vocal track which pulls this single slightly above the mediocre but doesn't really see Moby flexing his considerable creative muscles too much.
www.moby.com
Watch video to 'Alice'

SB

 
 

Lizzyspit - Laura's Diary (Spit)

Never mind all the PR guff about how Lizzy walked out midway through a classical music lesson or whatever. What I want to know is how she ended up being names something that sounds more like a drinking game (and a slightly rude drinking game at that). Musically, comparisons with Kate Nash are inevitable but I would say that 'Laura's Diary' has a pleasant frail charm about it that Lizzy's voice captures and which plays off the percussive slaps of the acoustic guitar. I'm not sure who decides who should play sell out shows at the Carling Academy and who is destined to play a residency in the corner of the local boozer but Lizzyspit would certainly not be out of place in front of a wider audience.
www.myspace.com/lizzyspit

SB

 
 

Kiko - Slave of My Mind (Different/Wall of Sound)

About as far removed from Lizzyspit as you could get without not even being music. French DJ/producer Kiko has crafted this glittering tech-noire masterpiece with what sounds like samples of Dave Gahan vocals (though he is not credited in the sleeve notes). This obviously gives the air of a Depeche Mode track (circa 'Violator') and no bad thing either.

There's two other remixes as well including a more rounded, bass heavy mix with loads of squelchy synths by Xenia Beliayeva. A fine way to end an evening, whether you hear it in a club at 3am or, like me,  as last review of the night before tuning in to listen to the cricket on the radio.

SB