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singles/eps - june 2009



The Mighty Roars – Elvis Lives (And he Drinks Sake)

You can tell as soon as this starts off with its big horns and intro that this is going to be a three minute wonder. It’s all about the hook and not about the line, no amount of wheezing Scandinavian girl vocal can hide that. But it’s all good. Also good is B-side ‘Kaptain’ which celebrates a Pixie-like bassline and a Hole-vibe. Excellent screwy guitar solo too – good, good, good.
www.myspace.com/themightyroars

SB


 

The New 1920 - The New 1920 EP

I bumped into this band performing at the Reading Rivermead as opening support for Lostprophets and was immensely impressed. No one had a clue who they were and most people were upset that From First To Last were unable to play and had been replaced by these no bodies. Two years later no one still has a clue who they are. Which is a shame because on that night two years ago The New 1920 wowed and won over myself and the crowd with their energetic live performance, catchy sound and, I quote, their “sexy bassist”.

Now as those three could easily be attributed to the internationally recognised Fall Out Boy, it’s bizarre that the band hasn’t made a more notable impact outside of the valleys. Being buddies with The Blackout, Lostprophets and Kids In Glass Houses should surely be a benefit for the young and upcoming band. Indeed most of those that have listened to the band will have been those who saw them touring with those three bands amongst many others, as their only release thus far has been a single in late 2007 ‘Torpedo Libido’.

Fortunately they’ve now put out an EP that offers a chance to get more people listening to them, and give them a chance to get attention on the UK music scene.

Opener ‘Come Around’ is a catchy number with clever boy-girl cat and mouse lyrics with a bass heavy sound, spiky guitars and catchy chorus that though nothing new is a very well constructed and listenable tune. ‘Ambler Gambler’ is similar in terms of basic structure but with a solo that provides greater focus on the guitar. This song in particular had a sound reminiscent of early ‘Girl From Mars’ era Ash, very catchy but with punk undertones that keep the song from being wholly forgetable. ‘Head For The Exit’ with its a cappella gang vocal opening and bass driven first verse continues the theme of the first two songs, catchy chorus and backing vocals seemingly destined for crowd interaction. A forgettable acoustic live recording concludes this release and then the EP is over. Three well produced (by Ian Watkins, Mike Lewis and Stuart Richardson of Lostprophets who should really be getting on with their fourth album), picture perfect pop rock songs that fail to distinguish the band as anything but a new spin of the dice from a sound familiar to many listeners of contemporary rock music.

So perhaps famous friends, catchy songs and an energetic live show don’t cut the mustard any more if you want to get noticed. This is a band proud of their no gimmicks approach, and that also don’t seem to fit into any particular scene - which might be the problem. To use a very weird analogy: they’ve got a very good fishing rod; it’s made up of good components, is easy to get used to and gets the job done. All this band really needs now is an eye catching bait to get that all too often misguided listening attention of the British public, and then they should be reeling in the album and ticket sales.

Chris Sharpe

 
 

New Education – Another Miracle (Kids)

New Education formed little over a year ago, so it's impressive that they've come so far in such a short space of time, supporting the likes of Pete Doherty and The Holloways.

From Stoke-On-Trent, the four-piece create massively inoffensive alternative rock, that is pleasingly tuneful and certainly listenable.

That said it's incredibly generic in sound, it isn't attempting anything radical, and it's all fairly simply thrown together. It's still a good single, but it's quite plain. It doesn't progress anywhere from when it starts, and it's really only the change in vocal melody between verses and choruses that carries the song from start to finish.

Your regular four-piece set up, two guitars, bass and drums, with a Doves-like tone in general, but a strangely Get-Cape style of verse formation. I think it's going to appeal to quite a large fan base, even if it isn't trying anything new. But I like it. However I'm certainly intrigued as to what the rest of the album will have to offer – if every song was like this, then that could get a little monotonous, but one would hope it progresses through a cornucopia of emotions and themes.

Thom Curtis

 
 

BBJ - EP

When the a band introduces itself as ‘Bad Blow Job’ you can’t help but have a few reservations about them that no doubt would already exist simply upon hearing the band is also Italian – nothing racially intolerant about it but the sad truth of the matter is Italians aren’t exactly renowned for anything but stroppy footballers, spaghetti and Mussolini. Admittedly Lacuna Coil are an exception to that general rule but even then they struggle to maintain a fan base outside of mainland Europe. In stark contrast to the absurdity of the moniker the music is very straightforward and by the book - everything here you’ve heard before and better from bands like Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins and Velvet Revolver. There is nothing horrible about the EP; it’s perfectly listenable, and there are even a few interesting variations on the template for an alternative rock band – the guitars particularly on fourth track “She Used To Tell Me” are actually very engaging and the heavy use of effects on the lead guitar actually go down a treat, and it is the best song on the release. However for the most part the EP finds itself stuck in the middle of the no-mans land of alternative rock with a sound often lying somewhere between down tempo Metallica, Guns N Roses and Stereophonics – which of course means they could be quite successful with their commercial and popular brand of alt-rock. Shame about the name really then.

Chris Sharpe


 

Dirty Projectors – Stillness is the Move (Domino)

What a hoot! The opening percussion bars sound like the intro to arch cheese-monger Chris de Burgh and his ‘Lady in Red’! Thereafter Dirty Projectors up the cool factor with a subtle blend of r ‘n’ b vocals over quite a Spartan backing track. Definitely not my preference but the least bad version of r ‘n’ b I have heard for a long time.
www.myspace.com/dirtyprojectors

SB

 
 

Let’s Tea Party – Hot Chip / Emmanuelle (Mi7)

What? You’re so ‘very very ‘appy’? ‘appy’ young man? Or is this your ‘coffee cuuurrp’ moment a la Take That? Maybe so because after this brief aberration, ‘Hot Chip’ settles into a nice rhythm with squelchy synths and ringing guitars and a vocal harmony which builds up into an excellent finale. Can’t stop singing ‘I will be your Hot Chip if you will be my buttercup’. ‘Emmanuelle’ is not bad either really – some nice guitar work again though the bass line is a bit clunky and over emphasised.
www.myspace.com/letsteaparty

SB


The Anomalies – Margarita (Beyond)

Who are these estuarial accented oiks, mixing up hip hop, grime, funk and lots of other stuff to boot? This all works pretty well in a frantic sort of way (although the chorus of ‘Maragrita’ does sound uncannily like ‘Tequila’ by Terrorvision – is this just due to my current alcohol obsession or is there a real vocal similarity there? I’d have to be fully sober top work that out and I can assure you that is not going to happen any time soon). Best classified as fun but throwaway.
www.the-anomalies.co.uk

SB

 

Pop Levi – Police $ign / Terrifying (Counter)

Strewth and blimey – ‘Police $ign’ is every bit as annoying as Pop Levi’s previous release ‘Never Never Love’ and this time it is complete with faux-Prince yelps – don’t mess with Prince – he’s the boss. Pop also does not seem to have noticed that all the microphones in his recording studio seem to be broken and are distorting everything. What? That’s a deliberate effect? Okaaayyy...

But there is brief solace this time in the form of B-side ‘Terrofying’ where all of a sudden all this excessive scuzzy distortion seems to find a more comfortable setting in the blues heavy guitar laden breakdowns, almost Led Zeppelin in their construction. So bin-off ‘Police $ign’ and auto repeat ‘Terrifying’.
www.poplevi.com

SB


Placebo – For What It’s Worth (Dreambrother)

For What It’s Worth indeed. I’ve been a recent fan of Placebo, giving them pretty favourable reviews in the last few years. But this track just seems to miss the mark for me – a bit too formulaic. There’s an interesting use of a music box backing loop which fades in and out at various points but on the whole the three minutes seem to slide past without too much to create a stir. Neat, efficient. But if I wanted neat and efficient I’d drive a Nissan.
www.placeboworld.co.uk
Watch video to 'For What It's Worth'

SB

 

Joker’s Daughter – Worm’s Head (Double Six)

Some bands just seem to effortlessly roll out tracks that beguile and fascinate and Joker’s Daughter are one such band. Helena Costas otherwise sweet vocals are carefully distorted and warped by Danger Mouse’s production in a perfectly bitter-sweet creation. The bonus tracks ‘Bouncing Liquorish Bears’ (really) and ‘Slayer’ are also sufficiently quirky to suggest that Joker’s Daughter are an act worth taking pretty seriously.
www.myspace.com/jokersdaughter

SB

 
 

The Xcerts - Just Go Home

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

SB

 
 

No and the Maybes – Petra Petrified (A:larm)

Has anyone noticed how this sounds like a pepped up version of Air’s ‘Sexy Boy’? Well at least it does until the Brian Wilson vocal harmonies come in at the chorus. Otherwise this is the best tight knit piece of candy floss pop music that has ever been written about underwear.
www.myspace.com/noandthemaybes

SB

 

Foxes! – Who Killed Rob (Catcutter)

Nope, it’s no good. I’ve listened to this about 5 times now and still can’t muster up any enthusiasm. And the main reason is that the band sound so uninterested in it themselves. ‘Who Killed Rob’ rattles past like another faceless Little Chef on a long motorway journey. Sure there are some nice parpy synths occasionally and even a hint of some of Idlewild’s lighter moments come across in bits of the male vocals but this is definitely not going to be the record that converts me to the wholesomeness of tweepop.
www.myspace.com/foxesfoxesfoxes

SB

 
 

Andrew Morris - 'Longbeach' (Fifty3)

I liked some bits of this five track EP a lot. Mostly the drums and keyboards, which manage to evoke images of cool city summer afternoon shadows, and restless evenings spent round a crackling analogue radio. Trouble is, along comes Andrew Morris, sounding a lot like David Gray's stunt double, and all effort is truly in vain. Morris's voice and lyrics have the presence and personality of cardboard, and squishy damp cardboard at that.

The real problem here is that the vocal probably wasn't recorded alongside the backing band, and while the musicians are very neatly making the most of a well equipped and air conditioned studio, Andrew Morris is stuck up on the roof and it is so hot he's going to get tar all over his sandals. Memo to producer Steve Honest: next time, get someone who can handle a vocal a bit more like Don Henley, let alone Anton Newcombe.

Jon Gordon

 

Nell Bryden - 'What Does It Take' (157)

Sometimes, glossy girl pop can sound a bit faked. A bit overworked, or forced, or just slightly overproduced. Nell Bryden sounds fresh, lively and inspired. Avoiding sliding into clubby electronics and keeping things toppy in the hi-hat department, the cowgirl skiffle of the title track had me anticipating a further ten tracks of countryfied bop but 2nd track 'Not Like Loving You' is a brassy soul ballad that posesses a natural vivacity, rather than the just another of those throaty torch numbers we've got used to recently. As the album progresses Nell does sound more at ease in a rural setting, and 'Helen's Requiem' wouldn't sound out of place on an enhanced rerelease of Marianne Faithfull's 'Broken English', except that Nell Bryden's voice has a clarity somewhat at odds with Faithfull's nicotine stained drawl.

It fairly speeds along though.There is some very fine sideplaying going on here, and the fold-out sleeve provides detailed credits for each track, right down to Michael Ginsberg and his washboard on final track 'Late Night Call'. Add to that the painstakingly recreated retro graphics of the album sleeve and we've got the new Loretta Lynn here. Can I really fault this album? While I could, I don't really want to, but I would like to hear Nell Bryden and her guitar minus the backing band. There are edgier, more inspired, less polite country folk records around, and 'What Does It Take' is unashamedly MOR in its outlook, while Nell herself sounds fairly harmless. Your mother probably wouldn't like her much though.
http://www.nellbryden.com

Jon Gordon

 
 

Brain Eyes Demo - Abduction Of Margaret (Ubscene Records)

What is it with young people in punk bands these days? All so angry, so much shouting. What’s so bad about being happy, and using our ‘indoor’ voice for once?

In fairness to Abduction Of Margaret, although this is a shouty punk thrash through 4 tracks, including a cover of B52’s Rock Lobster, the shouting does seem to be done very much tongue in cheek. The lyrics don’t take themselves too seriously, as can be gleaned from the lead track of Everything’s Brian In My Eyes.

It’s nice to see shouty young men are at least seeming to enjoy what they do - everything’s certainly not doom and gloom here - and although the apparent randomness and abstract nature of the screamed lyrics does make this difficult to fully appreciate as a serious punk offering the tunes are tight enough, short enough and reasonably polished enough to at least make Abduction of Margaret worth taking note of.
www.myspace.com/abductionofmargaret

Jim Johnston

 
 

This is Radio Freedom – Family Man (Sidew7lk)

Forget anything else – lyrics, musicianship, songwriting. This is on a bright orange CD! I’ve never seen one before and being a fickle creature I am instantly impressed. Disappointingly the musical content is similar – kicks off with fizzling intent but beyond this superficial promise but beyond the glitz this single trudges along a very worn path. The orange CD will make a fantastic coffee table drinks coaster.
www.myspace.com/thisisradiofreedom

SB

 

Cougar – Thundersnow / Rhinelander (Counter)

This is all a little bit impressive from Wisconsin based Cougar. Great name for a guitar-based instrumental rock band and Thundersnow mixes a nice line in harmonics with machine gun drum to produce a tort sound. ‘Rhinelander’ is a little more expansive with its choral intro and its extended length also allows a beautiful guitar line to develop. A little akin to Vessels, Cougar use some clever clipped guitar sounds in tandem with ringing notes and chords to produce a complex performance.
www.counterrecords.com

SB

 
 

Jimmy Ponzio – Out of My Mind (Sesso)

Normally speaking I wouldn’t even bother writing up a review to a record like this. But in the case of ‘Out of My Mind’ I am so offended by it that I feel moved to document its mediocrity. It’s not that the singer can’t sing. It’s not that it is poorly recorded. It’s the sheer laziness of the track – this is generic house of the worst kind – the backing could be a factory installed rhythm programme on any £50 Casio and the vocal is both disinterested and repetitive. While it may fulfil the role of aural wallpaper to a drunken night out in a very dubious city centre club, I feel aggrieved that someone can peddle this filth and even more aggrieved that some people would buy it.

SB

 

Sound of Guns – Architects (Distiller)

It’s got that insistent drum sound and stadium rock vibe that is quite reminiscent of the Doves. It’s also a bit on the dull side, also reminiscent of Doves. The intro with the ‘Jean Genie’ style guitar pretty much forms the highlight of the track – when you hit the ground running at that pace it is little difficult to move onwards and upwards (though there is an interesting vocal piece just before the end where singer Andy Metcalfe’s line ‘We go Dowwwwwn’ soars into the stratosphere.
www.myspace.com/soundofguns

SB

 
 

Freeland – Do You (Marine Parade)

It seems never a day goes past without a Freeland press release hitting my inbox. So do Freeland live up to the hype or have I just got them mixed up with Freelander (and if so I bet I am not the first one to do it). Weirdly there are a few parallels between the two – the whole kind of Depeche Mode/ Nitzer Ebb/Trentmoeller vibe is heavy. But I’m afraid that for all its dark electro intent ‘Do You’ just doesn’t go anywhere – the whole thing is built around a three chord progression and remorselessly refuses to leave it. There’s lots of fizzling synths and thumping drums but somewhere along the line it would massively benefit from a change of direction or timing.
www.marineparade.net

SB

 
 

Wrapped in Plastic – Confessions / No-one Counts

More Depeche Modery and heavy gothic industrial electro stomping going on here and I like muchly (apart from the irrititating tsst, tsst, tsst of the high hat/drum pattern). It’s almost shoe gazy – like Jesus and Mary Chain but deprived of guitars. I do think that shaving about a minute off ‘ ‘ wouldn’t harm things at all though. B-side is equally good – it’s got that nice Curve sound about it (and not just because guitarist Debbie Smith is an ex member of Curve and Echobelly). I like these tracks. I like all the artists the band list as inspirations. I await further releases with the nearest emotion to excitement that I can muster these days.
www.myspace.com/wrappedinplasticuk

SB

 

Diarmaid O’Meara – Murdering Disco (Gobsmacked)

Yet another strong release from Diarmaid O’Meara and this time there’s a slight shift away from the euphoric, techno-edged dance floor fillers towards a more introspective, trancier vibe. Sure there’s the same insistent bass beat but also loads of phasing, filtering and general squelchiness more akin to a chilled out Aphex Twin than to Carl Cox. In addition to the main track there’s also a nifty B-side ‘Disco Murderer’ which has an even more subdued atmosphere without ever giving up any of the energy of the single. O Meara is hot and at present does not seem to be able to put a foot wrong.
www.myspace.com/diarmaidomeara

SB

 
 

The Broadcasts – Shortcuts

This single has given me a bit of a headache this month. You see The Shortcuts have definitely got it going oaaannn – clever song writing, wibbly synthage, pert verses...it’s all there. But then they go and throw in those adolescent ‘whoooa oh oh’s and sound like the bloody Kooks. Bah! Fortunately the outro is nicely gritty and Matt Howe’s production throughout is top notch so that you are left with a pleasant taste in your mouth. Plus bonus track 'Sharp Knife' has a great post punk vibe about it and is probably my favourite track on the CD. Whoa oh oh oh...
www.myspace.com/thebroadcasts

SB

 

Shirley Lee – Dissolving Time / Spiralina Girl (Missing Page)

It’s true that Shirley Lee writes quintessentially English indie-pop songs but they are by no means hackneyed. ‘Dissolving Time’ combines a fizzling synth line with Lee’s gentle vocal and quite a lot of drums – it even sounds a bit like the Boo Radleys in places. ‘Spiralina Gir’ is more traditional fare, featuring as it does a nice clean guitar part that leads rather than supplements the understated vocals in much the same way as Jonny Marr did in The Smiths. Good wholesome stuff for a clean cut boy like myself.
www.shirleylee.co.uk

SB

 
 

Stephen Dale Petit – As The Years Go Passing By (333)

I like the old valvey-amp guitar sounds on this track a lot. But coupled with an over-slick Ronson-esque arrangement it makes for a poor companion. Ultimately it’s just a cover version (and it’s not particularly well sung) so it doesn’t matter who you’ve collaborated with, who produced it or where it was recorded.
www.guitararama.co.uk

SB

 
 

World Before Wireless - 'Transistor:Resistor'

Second track 'Hole' really caught my attention when around halfway into the song the band suddenly break into a 4-part acapella vocal that cuts a delicate swathe through the monstrous rock noise that surrounds it. The only influence World Before Wireless are prepared to admit is that of the Pixies, except that where Black Francis and his cohorts wallowed in lashings of screeching archness, World Before Wireless bring soungs of the quality of 'The Things Left Unsaid' to the table, a gently abrasive ballad resembling one of Mazzy Star's lighter moments.

What this EP really is, is a a band throwing off their influences and developing into proper songwriters, and while EPs such as this don't always make for a really interesting listening experience, World Before Wireless are inspired in the right areas, know a production trick or two, and considering that the drum tracks were recorded in Barnet while the rest was done in guitarist Aaron's south London living room, I'd say the results deserve a proper round of applause form everyone.
http://www.worldbeforewireless.com

Jon Gordon

 

Blabbermouth – I Return

So it’s written in the third person about a guy returning to life. It’s nicely sung and neatly put together but it’s pretty bog standard folk pop, the same folk pop being done over and over around the country by the likes of Damien Rice and Seth Lakeman. As my good friend JJJ Townsend and myself were discussing only this evening, there’s a limit to just how much music you can listen to before you reach your fill. And I think I have now overflowed for the week with acoustic folk singer song writers.
www.myspace.com/therealblabbermouth

SB

 
 

Findlay Napier & the Bar Room Mountaineers – When Harry Met Charlie (Haymaker Recording Company)

See above review of Blabbermouth, only moreso. Oh, and this one is about the relationship between Charles Darwin and a tortoise – that at least, is original.
www.myspace.com/findlaynapier

SB

 
 

Defend Moscow – Die Tonight (Kids)

The bleakness of the song title is belied by the upstart jolliness of the electro pop music that describes it. The boy-girl vocals and heavy synths recall Heads We Dance and there’s a swagger of Molloy-style glamour about this as well. But essentially it’s 70’s disco played out on modern equipment. B-side ‘Sign of Life’ advances a decade and sees Rick Astley making a comeback, again with fresh backing track. A bit too retro for its own good.
www.myspace.com/defendmoscow

SB

 

The Lucky Face – Sunk Soul Song

Best CD sleeve by miles this month – it features a plastic deep sea diver submerged in a gold fish bowl. The kazoo-laden melodies and gentle guitar accompaniment might just get you swaying your hips on a balmy summer’s evening but probably isn’t one you’ll recall by the first frosts of October.
www.myspace.com/theluckyface

SB

 
 

Netsayi – Punch Drunk

Pretty middle of the road fare here from Zimbabwean émigré Netsayi. ‘Punch Drunk’ is a lot more mellow than its name would suggest and does manage to combine the unusual musical bedfellows of world music, country and western and soul. Perhaps this is a taste of what it would have sounded like if Ella Fitzgerald had ever teamed up with Paul Simon.
http://www.netsayi.com

SB

 
 

Buck Brothers - You’re So Good Good Good You’re Great (Back2Forward)

A cracking pop/punk thrash through the subject of celebrity with witty verses and an insanely catch chorus, and an underlying message any right-thinking person should agree heartily with.

The press release suggests there’s some mystery as to who the celeb in question is. Given the dressed Chihuahua on the single sleeve I reckon I could take a wild stab in the dark.

Released on July 13th, and you could do far worse than pick this up.
www.myspace.com/buckbrothers

Jim Johnston

 

Century Man - Marauder (A Perfect Noise Records)

Essentially a band will be formed for one of two reasons. The first is that the creative force of the band has a message the spread. The second is just wanting to be a rock and roll star like the bands you listen to.

Each is acceptable on the understanding that, in the first instance, the message is a good one and, in the second, the band you aspire to isn’t the Kaiser Chiefs.

Century Man are definitely formed on the back of the second reason but thankfully steer well clear of drawing their inspiration from the Chiefs. The reference points are clear - more than a knowing nod in the direction of The Enemy and Kasabian and, in turn, a debt of gratitude to the Gallagher brothers. In fact, Tom Clarke of The Enemy is quoted as a supporter.

The swagger is definitely there as is the laddish confidence. The weakness may be that the songs lack something of the anthemic chorus The Enemy and Kasabian have made their hallmarks and as such this single doesn’t catch the attention and stick in the mind quite as much as those they pay homage to. But there’s nothing wrong with the balls out rock n roll these boys are peddling and it certainly whets the appetite for the EP of the same name this is taken from.
www.myspace.com/centuryman

Jim Johnston

 
 

Unusual and Electric – The KPM Sessions (Zirkus)

This is definitely a bit of a mixed bag. It’s full of soulful keys and a shuffling beat, nicely interspersed with a bit of Hammond organ a la the Alan Moorehouse originals which it covers (‘Soul Skimmer’ and ‘That’s Nice’). But it’s a bit ponderous in general – never really building, changing or going anywhere. U&E’s heritage in club nights where they put on acts such as early Chemical Brothers and Richard Fearless are clearly referenced without ever inspiring the same sense of fun that these acts can draw on. In fact some of this sounds as joyless and mechanical as the press release accompanying it which mentions acquisitions, business and partnerships as much as it talks about the music. More delight, less shite please.
www.unusualandelectric.com

SB

 

The Yeah You’s – 15 Minutes (Island)

This throbs into life like a big orchestrated piece, throttles back like Will Young’s ‘Grace’ and changes through the gears to sound very Beatles inspired. But two things bother me – the chorus sounds like any generic boyband and worse, the band have no concept of punctuation. We have been known to let the odd typo (or dozen) slip through the net each month but we would never knowingly call ourselves The Yeah You’s – it means absolutely nothing.
www.yeahyous.com

SB

 
 

Fol Chen – The Idiot (Asthmatic Kitty)

There’s some very un-Californian brass parts in ‘The Idiot’ despite Fol Chen’s Californian origins. They really stand out in a track that otherwise sounds like Metronomy but with a sense of humour. THe soulful warbling are laid on a bit heavy towards the end but otherwise it’s a perfectly acceptable summer getaway kind of track. Which is a good job because it was released last month.

SB

 
 

The Exits – Neon City (Criminal Records)

We have synths and effects pedals and we are going to use them would seem to be the modus operandus here. We previously reviewed this in May 2008 and it got a tentative thumbs up then. This time it comes with 5 remixes while the band record their next single. These feature the bleeptronica of the DAztronica mix, the Warpy minimalism of the Bobby O’Donnell Remix and the B-movie squelchiness of the Udy’s Bright Lights Edit. But it’s the next single ‘You Gotta Help Me Out’ that is of most interest with a deranged synth line forming the back bone of the track. You wonder where The Exits will go vocally once they stop putting the mic through a NASA-sized array of effects pedals but for the time being at least this release promises great things.
www.myspace.com/theexits

SB

 

Of Montreal – For Our Elegant Caste (Polyvinyl)

I feel slightly bad because I know we have fellow writers at Tasty who are partial to a spot of Of Montreal yet I’ve received this to review. Personally I find Of Montreal unnecessarily quirky, like an eckied up union between The Scissor Sisters and MGMT and this is no exception. Falsetto –check. Weebly synths – check. 70’s keyboards – check.
www.ofmontreal.net

SB

 
 

Starsailor – All the Plans (Virgin)

Starsailor? Starsailor? I have a feeling that this should be instantly loathsome and that Starsailor are frequently used as the metaphor of choice when describing something that is bobbins. And this would seem to be up to that job – it’s over wrought, earnest indie ballad fodder of the least likeable type. That said, somebody likes this and I bet they are absolutely minted.
www.myspace.com/starsailor

SB

 
 

The Rokettes – Burn Baby Burn (Delicious)

So, the molten voiced Italian Elena has returned and this time she is accompanied by a pair of hapless accomplices in her challenge to fill the world with painful sounding earnest indie rock. Actually I apologise – that probably isn’t Elena’s chosen task. But this really isn’t any good – the track splutters and chokes through its brief life, the snare drum sound is terrible, the guitar sound is whiny and Elena is, well, have a listen on Myspace. Only when ‘Burn Baby Burn’ apologetically fizzles out at the end do your fingers unclench and the cold sweats begin to subside.
www.therokettes.com
www.myspace.com/therokettes

SB

 
 

Lethal Bizzle – Go Hard (Search and Destroy)

This is a pretty minimal track for Lethal Bizzle really. Sure there’s the old school r’n’b vocal talents of Donaeo sampled for the choruses but in between times there’s very little going on at all. A bit of near sub-sonic timpani bass and a monotone Bizzle rap are only animated by a short brass section towards the end. If you like your music interwoven and cleverly composed then this may not be for you.
watcj the video to 'Go Hard'
http://www.myspace.com/lethalbizzlemusic

SB

 
 

Voluntary Butler Scheme – Tobasco Sole (Split)

The guitar line from this stop-start, twinkly little pop nugget definitely sounds like it has been nicked from the Jackson 5. Add the high-low vocal melodies and it just sounds like music from a bad childrens’ programme. Unfortunately I found the other accompanying tracks equally nauseating so won’t bore you with the details.
www.myspace.com/thevoluntarybutlerscheme

SB

 
 

Sneaky Sound System – It’s Not My Problem (14th Floor)

It’s all based around the euphoric rising synthy lines and a Mario Brothers video game sound effect every so often. But this just amounts to a middle of the road, Balearic sounding dance record that meanders around, albeit in a not to unpleasant way but which never really grabs the imagination.
www.myspace.com/sneakysoundsystem

SB

 
 

The Hickey Underworld – Mystery Bruise (Naive)

Mystery Bruise by name, bruising by nature. This track thunders in with some drumming that sounds like the kit is on its last legs and is being clattered through its death throes. Nice baggy sounding guitar strings compliment the wrought vocals and the whole thing whistles by in less than 3 minutes. Cracking stuff.
www.myspace.com/thehickeyunderworldmusic

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Crystal Fighters – Xtatic Truth (Kitsune)

When you see the name Kitsune attached to this release you know one thing at least – it will be cool. And sure enough Crystal Fighters do not disappoint. It’s a fusion of Basque folk music and Euro techno via an operatic composition that leads to another highly innovative sounding track this month. It’s vital, current and timeless all at once. Like a disco version of Adjagas.

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Joana and the Wolf – Natural Born Killers (Vilkas)

It’s so refreshing to hear a band with such an individual sound in this age of mass marketing, demographics and target audiences. It would be interesting to see a marketing company would try and pitch this concoction of glam/rockabilly/disco to as ‘Natural Born Killer’ has pretty much got a sound all to itself. Joana’s voice lurches between a threatening growl and a shrill falsetto, calling at all points in between. As if that wasn’t enough, the B-side ‘Demon’s Bride’ crosses even more musical styles – classical/goth/rock opera and prog giving a heady mix of sounds that would result if PJ Harvey, Chrissie Hynde, Meatloaf and Her Name is Calla had a flat share in Whitby. Just to confirm – this is a good thing.
www.joanaandthewolf.com

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Dr Meaker – Double Bass (Flightcase Recordings)

I can’t get into this at all. It’s basically a drum and bass record with a soulful vocal track courtesy of Massive Attack collaborator Yolanda Quartey but with the added twist that the bass is played on double bass. And it’s a bit jazzy. The result is a bit disjointed as all the incongruent parts struggle to gel and just slide past each other.
www.myspace.com/drmeaker

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Law Abiding Citizens – Little L (Diffusion)

Shouty laddish, punky indie rock ahoy. I don’t think Law Abiding Citizens would baulk from this description (they cite Oasis as one of their primary influences after all) and they carry ‘Little L’ along with a whole working class chip on their shoulder-full of energy and raucousness. Just don’t expect anything too subtle and you won’t be disappointed.
www.myspace.com/laclondon

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The Jacks – Not Me Not You (Jangle Chain)

This is a curious hybrid beast. In parts sounding like the Beautiful South, at others a little bit like Blur (the ‘Beetlebug’ guitar line of ‘Do or Don’t’). The Boo Radleys also seem to have exerted some influence so you get an idea of what this sounds like – effervescent indie pop. A decent sound track for a hot summer but time will tell if they can also winter well.
www.myspace.com/thejackstuners

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Lisa Hannigan – I Don’t Know (Hoop)

Long time Damien Rice collaborator Lisa Hanigan has now struck out on her own and ‘I Don’t Know Will be the first single from her upcoming album ‘Sea Sew’. It’s a gentle piece with pitter patter percussion, banjo and doleful brass parts. A bit more upbeat than the usual Rice material, some will see this as a light hearted alternative whereas others will just find it lightweight.
www.lisahannigan.ie

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The ‘A’ Train – Black and White Memories (Vantage Room)

I hope I’m not being too uncharitable but the only difference between this track and countless open mic performances across the country would seem to be the production values which add an extra luxurious quality to it. There’s a vaguely countryish vibe to the guitar parts and an overlaid jazzy bassline which actually sounds more complex when written about than it sounds in reality – some feat.
www.myspace.com/theatrainmusic

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Isa and the Filthy Tongues – Big Star (Circular)

From the moment this track kicks off with a big booming drum and Bunnymen-esque guitar line you know it’s going to be good. And then it gets better when singer Stacey Chavis flies into the melee with her vocals, very reminiscent to some of the tracks from PJ Harvey’s ‘Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea’. In short it’s quite ace and I’ll even forgive it for just fading out at the end instead of thinking of a proper finale.
www.isaandthefilthytongues.com

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