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singles/eps - november 2009



Crazy Arm – Henry Fabian Flynn (Xtra Mile)

I really like this track. God knows who Henry Fabian Flynn is but he has inspired a cracking little mathy, punky, folky track here – avoiding the excesses of each genre while bringing all the good bits together. Sound a bit like Tubelord and ‘Night of the Pencils’. Goes downhill thereafter though with the B-sides sounding like a mix of Levellers and Reef.
www.myspace.com/crazyarm

SB



 

Trashcan Sinatras – People (Lo Five)

Urgh. I’m afraid I’m not warming to this at all, mainly because the chorus sounds uncannily like Cliff Richard’s ‘Why We Don’t Talk Anymore’ which plagued my ears as a child due to my Mum’s dubious musical taste. No Mummy, please don’t lock me in the cupboard again...
www.trashcansinatras.com

SB

 

Castrovalva – Thug Poetry (Brew)

This certainly doesn’t sound like Cliff Richard. It does sound a bit like Prince doing vocals on an Oxes track while someone plays Electric Six at the back of the studio. Thick, cluggy bass and masses of samples – this is no easy listen. ‘Outlawz’ sees Producer Ross Halden masterfully keep the various disparate parts of the track something like together but frankly it’s a tough ask. Cracking artwork though.
www.myspace.com/castrovalvamusic

SB


 
 

Kick to Kill – Cut Me (Flowers in the Dustbin)

Kick to Kill, Kick to Kill, Kick to Kill ya...those were the days when the Poppies ruled the world. But in fairness this track isn’t bad either. It’s new wave and bleak and synthy and occasionally crunching too, a bit like an eckied up Peace Burial at Sea. Ironically enough while the track was being recorded the lead singer got attacked in Glasgow City Centre and was stabbed twice in the head and twice in the chest – choose your song titles more wisely in future. But even better – he discharged himself from hospital the very next morning saying ‘it doesn’t hurt’ – rock n roll!
www.myspace.com/kicktokill

SB


Jonny Cola and the A Grades – Out of Focus

Straight out of the very English school of suburban drama pop come Jonny Cola and his A Grades. ‘Out of Focus’ is a perfectly crafted piece of pop, slightly reminiscent of Blur and Bowie and complete with a suitably rambunctious finale. So uplifting and world-wearysome at the same time- some feat.
www.jonnycolaandtheagrades.net

SB

 
 

Enter Shikari – Wall (Ambush Reality)

I’m not familiar with the original version of ‘Wall’ but this remix courtesy of drum ‘n’ bass artist High Contrast works a blinking treat. The breakbeats work brilliantly over the doleful verses which are laden with brass and animate what could otherwise be a little bit too earnest. I wonder if Iliketrains have considered a few d’n’b remixers?
www.entershikari.com

SB



Outraze – Rebel Blues

Altogether now, ‘Whey-aye man, whey-aye man, whey-aye man’ – its’ the Nail/Knopfler theme tune from Auf Wiedersehen, Pet. Eh? It’s not? Sure sounds like it (though admittedly as sung by Liam Gallagher) and the more I listen the more gruesomely enjoyable it is. Everything tells me no but still I can’t stop myself, a bit like eating gherkins.
www.myspace.com/outraze

SB


 
 

Scarlette Fever – You Don’t Know My Name (Starfisch)

Well this is a bit of a pleasant surprise. All was not auguring well on seeing Scarlette’s moonface meaning off the cover from her stripey sofa next to her laptop – some lovelorn song about an internet romance I was thinking. Instead it’s a trancey, chill out track loosely built around John Barry’s ‘Midnight Cowboy’. Furthermore the vocals don’t over-indulge the singer but sit perfectly within the song as a whole. I do suspect, however, that Scarlette Fever is not her real name. I’ll keep this review positive by not even starting to talk about how bad the B-side ‘Lovestruck’ is.
www.myspace.com/scarlettefevermusic

SB


 

This Beautiful Thief – No Love Lost (Magpie)

There’s lots of things to admire about this track. Every word sung like it’s the last, crisp production, nice arrangements etc yet there is also something a bit frenetic about it, like This Beautiful Thief are on a timescale to success and need to cram in as many hooks as possible. The backing tracks reassure though with remixes of ‘Falling Down’ and ‘Say Something’ being preferable to the title track.
www.thisbeautifulthief.com

SB

 
 

Daniel Merriweather – Water and a Flame (Columbia/Allido)

I feel a little bit guilty, like I have single handedly conducted a hate campaign against plastic haired crooner Merriweather. But with the this single, sung in duet with Adele, the bugger has only gone and pulled it off without being an annoying git. Even long time collaborator/producer Mark Ronson has held off on the big arrangements. Fairs fair – I don’t hate it.
www.danielmerriweather.com

SB

 

Death By Audio - Kill Your TV (Stone Deaf Records)

Manchester based ‘Raawwk’ from Death by Audio.

If ever a band picked the right name, it’s these. Does exactly what you expect, which is heavy, guitar laden riffs thrown at you with unrelenting pace, screaming guitar solo’s and vocals delivered all shouty and with ‘meaning’.

If you like your Queens of the Stone Age, Eagles of Death Metal and the like then you should find good listening to here.

If I had one criticism it would be the sentiment behind the EP title and opening track, Kill Your TV. Featuring the line, “kill your TV before it kills you”. Boys, leave telly alone. It’s just sat there in the corner not bothering no one, why have a go? Some nights it’s the only friend I have and, sure, sometimes it brings round nasty boys like Jeremy Kyle, Simon Cowell, Piers Morgan, and is a little too obsessed at the moment with decorating houses and reality shows, but we also watch football and rugby and snooker together and sometimes he makes me laugh and when we get together with our other mate, DVD player, the 3 of us help those long winter nights pass. So lay off the lad.
www.myspace.com/deathbyaudiouk

Jim Johnston

 
 

Krystle Warren – Year End Issue (Because)

Is it? Is it? No it isn’t going to turn into ‘American Pie’ but it sure threatens to. Warren has an easy laid back style, part Michelle Shocked, part Corinne Bailey Rae. Otherwise this is a pretty if not that interesting, single.
www.myspace.com/krystlewarren

SB

 
 

Bubbel G – Get Ready (LMJ)

What is this pile of crap? Bubbel G will allegedly rival the Spice Girls and Girls Aloud and the marketing department has already been hard at work branding each of the constituent members with the USP. For instance, ‘English Rose Elle is a breath of fresh air with her blonde, beautiful and bubbly charm’. What? Words defy how lowly I consider this drivel but I know one thing – they definitely won’t be rivalling Girls Aloud any time soon.
www.bubbelg.com

SB

 

The Darlingtons – Glitch EP

What better antidote to the sickeningly marketed Bubbel G than this nice little self released 4-track EP from Taunton’s The Darlingtons. There’s delicate yet tremulous guitars ringing through and a vocal sung with sensitivity without being schmaltzy in the title track which builds up to a nicely poised crescendo. It’s a similar delivery through ‘Ten’ and ‘Broken Wire’ – think Cinematic Orchestra tinged with Echo and the Bunnymen. Closer ‘Rainbows’ is a beautiful piece, slowly unfurling ad sounding a little Joshua Tree-era U2. All very promising.
www.thedarlingtons.co.uk

SB

 
 

Attention Thieves – EP sampler

Well this is all very thorough – pages of press release and background information about the band, including the fact that the band are very tall (mostly over 6’3”) – so get booking them now for great fun in all your cellar venues. I find it a little sad that bands feel the need to effectively include a business statement (or ‘band statement’ as it is here) because they feel the need to pitch to the ‘industry professionals’ but I guess that is the climate that we are living in. Personally I’d rather they spent a few years lobbing TVs out of hotel windows first.

Citing the likes of Bloc Party as influences, ‘Number One Thing’ actually screams out The Police to me, and in no bad way. Bloc Party does definitely come to the fore in ‘From My Reach’ but it is final track on the Ep ‘Fear to Lose ‘ which most gets my attention. It’s heavier on riffs (in both style and quantity) and is generally a more off-kilter composition. |Remind me a little of Leeds unsigned band Authors of Malicious Code, except, in fairness to Attention Thieves, done a little bit better. I get the feeling that these guys will be successful at whatever they eventually decide to turn their hands to musically – on the basis of one of my predictions, look out for them stacking shelves in a Waitrose near you sometime soon.
www.myspace.com/attentionthieves

SB

 
 

Ben TD – Leaves (Lo-Five)

The sad thing about this track is that it promises so much yet delivers so little. There’s a lovely Spartan feeling to the beginning which really highlights Ben TD’s particular vocal sound but then it all just gets washed in with a pretty run of the mill folky production. With a bit more inventiveness in recording and production there’s a glimmer of promise here.
www.myspace.com/bentd

SB

 

Biffy Clyro – The Captain (14th Floor)

They’ve pretty much got it sussed Biffy Clyro. European tour supporting Muse in November, their own headline tour in UK preceding that and general critical acclaim falling out of their talented musical arses. While ‘the Captain’ does not scale the musical highs that ‘Golden Rule’ managed earlier in the year, it is a more straight forward stadium singalong with catchy chorus and is sure to hit the spot from Briton Academy to the Palasport Olimpico.
www.biffyclyro.com
watch video to 'The Captain'

SB

 
 

Codeine Velvet Club – Vanity Kills (Island)

My heart sank slightly when I saw this was a 60’s style boy-girl duet by a combination of The Fratellis and Lou Hickey. All a bit Last of the Shadow Puppets (except with girls obviously). But on listening to it it’s not all that bad – it’s so bristling with energy, fat brass parts and rattling cymbals that I would go as far to say that I even found it mildly enjoyable. Time for a stiff drink.
www.codeinevelvetclub.com

SB

 

Mirrors – Into the Heart (Moshi Moshi)

Sure it’s a bit Bunnymen/Kraftwerk but I am yet to be convinced by this Mirrors track. It doesn’t really take that whole genre forward anywhere and already sounds dated (it could easily be a re-release of a 20 year old track with its fledgling synths). ‘Lights and Offerings’ is a much bigger sounds but still suffers from sounding dated – I think these chaps might need to have a bit of a rethink.
www.myspace.com/mirrorsmirrorsmirrors

SB

 
 

The ‘A’ Train – Don’t Have Far To Go (Vantage Room)

This track is heavily underpinned by what is quite simply a gospel vocal track – time and again it peeks through the various layerings of guitars, keys and more contemporary production. And this is a good thing as it is undoubtedly the unique aspect to the track. It’s a little unlikely but I think it works rather well – I’m going to celebrate by going to get baptised.
www.theatrain.co.uk

SB

 

Cassidy - Night In The Box (King Tuts Recordings)

Almost immediately you’ll be drawn into the good, solid beat and simple straight forward lyrics.

Something about this is instantly recognisably Scottish. Yet it is part folk, part country, part rock/pop and all good. The only obvious comparison to draw with this is to Last Of The Shadow Puppets but even that seems a somewhat lazy comparison as this has so much more of itself to offer.

The best thing, and there are numerous good things I could say about this, but the best thing I can say it that this would appear to be a precursor to an album that will definitely be a worthwhile and rewarding purchase.
www.myspace.com/cassidyuk

Jim Johnston

 
 

Kid Adrift - L.E.D Illusions (Euphonios)

Bit busy this. Bit too much going on, all a bit of a cacophony of various, seemingly unrelated, electronic beeps and rhythms which make this all a little difficult to follow on first listen.

Ultimately it sounds like a Flight Of The Conchords track, except without the comedy pay off. Which instead gives it the sense of being very clever, but perhaps just a little too clever for it’s own good.

Whilst technically very accomplished, and certainly a very individual and creative offering, it remains lacking something that draws you in or leaves you wanting more.
www.kidadrift.com

Jim Johnston

 
 

Fortune – Highway (Distiller)

‘Highways’ is straight out of the Metronomy school of thinking – airy synths and vocals and an over-arching sense of cool – little surprise then that Fortune are a Parisian outfit, not from Scunthorpe. But as with much of Metronomy’s work, I just struggle to really engage with this kind of thing – it’s all just a little too cool for me, permanently out of reach and sounding like they don’t really care whether anyone will like this or not.
www.myspace.com/ilovefortune

SB

 

Little Comets – A-d-u-l-t-e-r-y (Columbia)

This is a nice quirky effort – a little bit mathy in its guitars and unadulterated (if you forgive the pun) in its bounciness. While we’re on with it – the hyphenated title is there to remind you that you say the word all jerky and deliberately, not written like that just on a pretentious whim. So good that I even listened to the instrumental version – I must be mellowing in my advancing years.
www.myspace.com/littlecometsmusic

SB

 
 

Blue Eyed Shark Experiment – Aun Aprendo (I’m Still Learning) EP (Sidewalk 7)

It’s a strangely subdued opening track ‘Generation’ that greets us to the delights of Blue Eyed Shark Experiment – they sound like a depressed Michael Stipe doing his rap from REM’s ‘End of the World’ before culminating into some kind of piano-led psyche opera outro. Intriguing. ‘Sleep Next to Me’ is similarly low key but makes no pretensions to poppiness and so works rather well as keyboard ballad. IN fact it could be a perfect Christmas single, I think I even heard a slay bell in there somewhere. I’m afraid I found ‘Goodbye My Little Friend’ and ‘Rain’ more than a little bit annoying – all TV advert friendly jingles with an irrepressibly jaunty octave shift up towards the end. Very much a game of two halves then. Lovely black vinyl CD and artwork though.
www.myspace.com/blueeyedshark

SB

 

Frank Turner – Poetry of the Deed (Xtra Mile)

Gosh, this is by far my favourite Frank Turner song ever (not that I though much of its predecessors but noteworthy all the same). This is just plain excellent song writing – thing ‘Everything Must Go’ era Manics – it’s not block bustingly original but it is bang on the money.
www.frank-turner.com

SB

 
 

The Dead Shores – Modern Men (Just Good)

It’s a fine divide between a satirical sideswipe at metro-sexual modern males and being a comedy band. I’m not sure what the defining attributes of either are but consider the following evidence: a heavy reliance on repetition, very simplistic 3-chord melodies, intermittent falsettos and comedy synth bridge – it could all be a true punk ethos or it could all be a bit gimmicky, like Macc Lads or the Lancashire Hotpots. Yes, it is puzzling how many ‘Modern Men’ have a fixation with sunbeds, WKD, man-bags, designer shirts and lad-mags but is this really satirical or just a rant? You decide. That said, why do blokes walk around in shorts and flip flops in Headingley on February?
www.myspace.com/thedeadshores

SB

 
 

Izzi Dunn – Tits and Ass

‘A full-on blast of urban soul meets funk’ – that’s as far as I got reading and listening to this CD before it was ejected and hurled into the bin. Soz – it’s just not my thang.
www.izzidunn.com

SB

 
 

The Candle Thieves – The Sunshine EP (Alcopop)

IT has to be said, I have a bit of a reputation in some parts of being a miserable bugger when it comes to music. I disagree. Obviously. But time after time I fail to understand how fey, simplistic indie sounds manage to inspire anyone. Take The Candle Thieves – talented enough bunch. This collection of tracks are even reasonably pretty. But can I get inspired and moved by them? Can I bollocks. Each is a different variation on the same seem – heartfelt vocals, twinkly guitar/keys and the odd harmony. Dullsville in my book. Didn’t do Snow Patrol any harm though.
www.myspace.com/thecandlethieves

SB

 
 

Limozine – El Presidente (Open Plan)

It’s proper punk-rock with 3 chords and a distorted vocal. If you’ve heard any Stooges then you’ll have heard similar to this many times. Limozine look like a good set of lads and they’ve even got themselves a monthly residency at the Albion pub in Hammersmith. Sadly, you’ll probably still find them down the pub in a year’s time.
www.myspace.com/limozine

SB

 

Alice in Chains – Your Decision (Parlophone)

A bit of a slowy here from the exceptionally good new Alice in Chains album. This track is mainly acoustic and most closely related to their previous works off ‘Jar of Flies’. I love the album but I’ve got to admit this is not one of my favoured tracks – I find it a little bit lumbering. But I imagine if you turn it up loud enough then the sudden electric parts send a shiver through your spine and the dual vocals will carry their normal mellifluous quality.
www.aliceinchains.com

SB

 
 

The X Why – Flight insight (XY)

Oh dear, there’s more than a touch of Jay-Z’s ‘Hard Knock Life’ about the Get Your Stuff mix of ‘Flight in Sight’. I’ll pass on that thanks. All is not lost though as there are much more precious jewels to be found elsewhere on the CD – the acidy ‘Red Onion’ and the deconstructed versions of ‘Gan Juan’ and particularly ‘Sick Puppy’ which sound more like a Coil or Aphex Twin mix – far more warped and suited to my bastardised taste in music.
www.myspace.com/thexwhy
watch video to 'Flight Insight'

SB

 
 

Indigo Road – Take 1 EP

Technically proficient yet completely nauseating to me. This is elevator music of the highest (or should that be lowest) calibre. Strummy strummy guitars, plinky plinky keys, warbly warbly vocals. Indigo Road to get it right occasionally, like when singer Belle Erskine opines ‘It’s a bit like dying’ – I couldn’t agree more. Terrible.
www.indigoroad.net

SB

 
 

The Boy Who Trapped the Sun – Watermark EP (Country Punk)

What’s with all the four-track EPs this month? It’s playing havoc with my time management. Fortunately The Boy Who Trapped the Sun provide around 15 minutes of rather pretty alt-folk. There’s plenty of cheerful fiddly finger picking on ‘Leaving’ which contrasts nicely with the slightly lamenting vocals. ‘Eve’ is equally, if not beautiful and has a great guitar interplay and simple arrangement. Admittedly the palette of sounds is kept simple across the EP and this could begin to get a bit dull were the vocals not so expressive and provide all the colour that you’ll need. Very nice for a frosty November morning.

SB

 

The Medullary Paralysis – We Don’t Drink, we don’t take drugs, we don’t have sex, we feel compassion (Bandcamp)

Aye aye. That’s what I thought when this CD came through the post some time ago with 3 rather glum-looking latex-goths emblazoned across the cover. That will be interesting I thought (and I hadn’t even read the title of the EP at that point). Probably a good thing they are not having sex – there would be some terrible sweaty chafing going on around all that latex (not to mention a lot of static being produced).

Then I listened to the EP and what do you know – it’s actually bloody excellent. All three songs originate in a very synthetic industrial glam (think early Ministry or offspring Revolting Cocks). Whereas ‘Compassion on the Dancelfoor’ is the poppy one, ‘Fashion Slave’ backs it up with a sledgehammer grind core type of sound, more in keeping with Nottingham’s Ann Arbour. There’s an awful lot of fuzz on all three tracks but the overall result of these three Italians’ endeavours is startlingly good. Well worth a bit of further investigation.
www.myspace.com/medullaryparalysis

SB

 
 

Ben Montague – Rainy Day (BM Music)

It’s at the polished end of the scale but it’s still radio friendly middle of the road pap (and no, that’s not a typo for pop). Previously play-listed for 5 weeks on Radio 2 – says it all really, inoffensive but uninspiring.
www.benmontague.co.uk

SB

 

Fighting Fiction – A Lesser of Two Evils (Dead Planets)

There’s a definite reggae/ska vibe about this bunch which would usually turn me right off straight away. But they manage to chop up and change ‘A Lesser of Two Evils’ half way through and go into a slightly more palatable metal break down. On some of the other tracks I think they do seem to be caught between styles – wandering towards emo in places then verging on pop in others, and this will undoubtedly alienate some listeners. But you can only admire their vim and vigour, not to mention their sentiments which are a bit Billy Bragg. More to come I believe.
www.fightingfiction.com

SB

 
 

The Miserable Rich – Covers (Humble Soul)

Hmm, what a tricky one. There’s no denying that these cover versions (‘Golden Brown’ by the Stranglers, ‘Gigantic’ by The Pixies, ‘Shades’ by Iggy Pop and ‘Sweet Dreams’ by the Eurythmics ) have been given a very striking and beautiful treatment – all hunkered down with warm strings, dulcet voice and hand claps. The outro to ‘Golden Brown’ in particular is quite breath taking. But four covers on one EP? Does that practically make you a covers band, just taking advantage of what are universally accepted brilliant songs by others? For the time being (and having never heard any of their original material) I’ll hold fire on making a judgement and just enjoy this offering for what it is.
www.myspace.com/themiserablerich

SB

 
 

Ingrid Michaelson – Maybe (Cabin 24)

This sounds like the almost inevitable conclusion of an alt-folk progression that includes Ray LaMonatgne, Damien Rice etc. ‘Maybe’ will have Jools Holland slavering all over it no doubt, but personally I’m just a bit full up on this kind of radio 2 schnizzle. It’s OK for a quick listen but it’s certainly not going to become the soundtrack for any part of my life.
www.ingridmichaelson.com

SB

 

The Boxer Rebellion – Evacuate

I’ve always liked The Boxer Rebellion, in main because they are named after some Oriental uprising. But with ‘Evacuate’ they illustrate musically why they are so good too. It’s urgent, it’s dramatic and breathless but it also progresses with a graceful quality which marks it apart from your average noisenik agit pop bands. Very fine indeed – like Doves might sounds if someone gave them the good kick up the arse they need.
www.theboxerrebellion

SB

 
 

Laura Catlow – Skin & Bone

Something has gone wrong here. Catlow is a capable, if not distinctive, singer and ‘Skin and Bone’ has an interesting little composition to it. But there’s also an annoying ‘thrumming’ on the guitar which overpowers the rest of the track. Along with the less successful accompanying tracks, I’m afraid this leaves Laura Catlow sounding a bit like a participant at an open mic night with a bad PA.
www.myspace.com/lauracatlow

SB

 
 

Alan Pownall – Clara (Young and Lost Club)

Wow – if there was thrumming on the Laura Catlow single, Alan Pownall makes it sound small fry. But in this case it’s all deliberate as the double bass sound wobbles cheerfully along with this music hall singalong ditty. With ‘The Others’ sounding equally antique, you get the impression that Alan Pownall would prefer to belong in a time gone by (Andrew Morgan is another suspect in this regard). See how keen you are when you have to have a bath of luke warm water in a tin in front of the fire Pownall – I’ll take central heating any day thanks.
www.myspace.com/alanpownall

SB

 
 

Rise East Strike West – Enter the Lions' Den

Melodic and heavy math / post rock group Rise East Strike West aren't the equally low profile post rockers 'East Strike West' who also have a CD out at the moment. This band just have a very similar name. And very similar music. Perhaps here is a suitable metaphor for this genre as it's saturated. Ideas have been done to death – It's just too darn easy to write and play. Rise East Strike West even acknowledge it themselves writing they were "born from jamming". Welcome to the word of progressive musical landscapes...

Now whilst it might seem rather unfair to cast a whole genre's looming shadow over a single band, a group, any group, who commits themselves to being (what is tantamount to) post rock aren't just standing on the shoulders of giants, their falling off them. The bubble has burst and no ordinary post rock band is likely to see the light again, at least for a very long time.

So RESW need to be different. Well, they may not offer originality, but they do pull off charm and depth. This EP contains little surprises but the weaving math guitars, the male/female/choir vocals and the storm of distortion makes opener 'To the Lions' a ominous, textured benchmark that other soundscape band's should be inspired by. Middle tune 'Steal The Sunshine at Your Peril' is more forgettable, sounding like Autokat put through an progressive mincer, yet quality resumes with finale 'Guns for Show (Knives for Jean Juno)', providing more quirky riffs as layered vocals chime emotive lyrics "tiny rainbows form on southern skies whilst strobing colours fracture through my mind" on what is a fantastically warm and propulsive song.

Ultimately, whilst this EP is a competent offering that even hints vaguely at greatness, RESW are at a crossroads. Having taken a well trodden path with this record they now need to harness the charm and depth that makes them different to prevent this debut becoming nothing more than yet another post rock dead end. What could be easier? Good luck to them.

Moker

 

The Heavy – No Time (Counter)

This has been picked up by Playstation to accompany their Champions League adverts apparently and you can almost feel the machismo sweat dripping off the disc. I think I rejected lad culture about the same time as stopped being a lad but this will no doubt appeal to the wkd side of countless sweaty trainered chaps. It’s an unexpected pleasure then to hear the far more dainty ‘In Time’ also – an acoustic piece sounding not unlike vintage Lenny Kravitz. Maybe ‘No Time’ isn’t that bad after all – I’m just reacting to all things Champions League and Playstation – why can’t we go back to when we used jumpers for goalposts etc...
www.myspace.com/theheavy73

SB

 
 

Oddyssey – Black America

Well this is all rather good. Is that Macy Gray on vocals? I’m not sure as there’s no press release with this disc but is sure sounds like her. And in parts ‘Black America’ sounds like a version of ‘Sweet Child o Mine’ and in others more like Captain Beefheart. The three accompanying tracks are also interesting and quirky enough to warrant quick investigation.
www.myspace.com/oddysseymusic

SB

 

Piney Gir – Say I’m Sorry

It’s wistful indie-pop from everyone’s favourite song lark PIney Gir. There’s a spot of doleful slide guitar in the background and some slightly annoying badly played clockwork toys and recorder in the foreground – pros and cons then. But overall it’s a retro vibe, even in the remixes which includes some crunchy guitars in the Stray Dogs in Paris ‘Mutt Mix’ and even a German language version – now that’s value.
www.myspace.com/pineygir

SB

 
 

The Lancashire Hotpots – Carry You Home / Chippy Tea (Townsend)

The Lancashire Hotpots + Christmas Song – sure-fire misery in my book. But in some bizarre quirk of fate, if their Christmas track ’Carry Me Home’ didn’t include those ever present sleigh bells, it would be a pretty damn good song any time of the year. But it’s back to type with B-side ‘Chippy Tea’ – bucolic satire or northern simpletons revelling in their own sense of old England, colloquialisms and local accents.
www.myspace.com/thelancashirehotpots

SB

 
 

Iglu & Hartly – Dedication (Andhammer)

What the hell is this crap? It takes a 5-piece from LA to provide us with mass produced dance-pop chart music that already sounds dated by about 3 years? Did they nick Cher’s vocoder? Fortunately it’s something my life can exist without.
www.myspace.com/igluandhartly

SB

 

Alberta Cross – Taking Control (Ark)

This is a hazy, swaying little track that seems to cross over many boundaries without ever really trying to plant a flag in any of them. There’s oodles of shoegazy guitar but enough oomph every so often to even keep Oasis fans entertained (even though you might be forgiven for thinking that you are just listening in on a jam session).
www.myspace.com/albertacross

SB

 
 

Jaga Jazzist – One Armed Bandit (Ninjatune)

There’s not enough Norwegian 9-piece bands doing tracks that sound like they were lifted from the Get Carter soundtrack for my liking. But as ‘One Armed Bandit’ progresses and the sound enrich, you feel yourself getting carried away with the whole vibe. These chaps are clearly virtuoso performers in the their own right and when they combine together like this you’ll be hard pressed not to fall for it.
www.myspace.com/jagajazzist

SB

 
 

Ella Montclare – I Surrender (Seawater)

I liked the last single from Montclare – it was all trip-hoppy and moody. I’m not so keen o this one as it veers a little more towards a soul angle (though admittedly it is still outwardly trip hop). Mind you, there’s plenty of remixes on here for you to find something that might appeal – even if you have to wade through what are essentially 2 identical version of the same mix.
www.ellamontclare.com

SB

 
 

Albino – I Love Everyone (Charborough)

Not the first sleigh bells I’ve heard this month and the worst of the three efforts to date. What is it that makes folks feel the need to record a ‘special’ Christmas song? A sense of warmth, wellbeing and family togetherness or someone sniffing an inroad into a potentially lucrative market providing the backing music to next year’s Boots adverts? And it’s only the middle of November – god helpus.
www.albinomusic.info

SB

 
 

Modern Clichés – Your Lucky Numbers (Crash)

Modern Clichés are three energetic, talented chaps with plenty of chutzpah and a zest for noisy guitar pop. The drumming in particular is completely hyperactive. Strange then that I feel completely unmoved by them – I’m left feeling like they are a kind of neutered Supergrass – there’s the makings of some exciting stuff in there but the ideas seem to have been, ahem, stilted at inception.
www.myspace.com/moderncliches

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Hannah – Shadow on the Wall (Snowdog)

Sulky-looking over-styled Estonian chanteuse Hannah is clearly hoping that her distinctive style and own brand of chart pop will mark her apart from any other potential Hannahs who might wreak havoc for identification purposes. It doesn’t – it just sounds like a cover version of another pop track which I know in my head but can’t currently put a name to. Not brilliant reviewing in fairness.
www.hannahsite.com

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The Answer – Comfort Zone (Albert Productions)

You’ve got to hand it to Ulstermen The Answer. They don;t do things by halves – really going for the leather pants/medallions/hairy chest crowd with this mammoth stomp along. Hell, they don’t even care that they sound like Spinal Tap or even more so Tenacious D. If they waivered for a second then the whole thing would unravel. But they don’t they maintain a steady gaze and an earnest approach that just about sees them pull this off. It’s good old rock and it’s not going away.
www.theanswer.ie

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The Singing Bridges – Three Trains EP (Skipping Stones)

Ultra lo-fi scuzzmongous rock from our friends in Connecticut. From the outset, when we are greeted by a Sonic Youth-esque squall of feedback, there is little doubting what the Singing Bridges are about. Simple melodies are layered on top of each other, simple chord progressions flow effortlessly and vocals are unaffected and sung as though by the pure of heart. Sure this occasionally means the odd missed note – but isn’t that what it’s all about – getting your message out and not worrying too much about the technicalities? In fact there are places where Singing Bridges sound like they have actually only got a rudimentary grasp of how to play their instruments. That’s either incredibly skilful play-acting (like Les Dawson on piano) or it is in fact the truth. And if you don’t try to indulge in 7 minute guitar solos then you can put all your creative efforts into putting something together with love, something that might actually move someone - that my friends, is what it is all about. For fans of Ride, Lush, Newcastle’s Four Marys etc
www.singingbridges.com

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