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singles/eps - may 2010



The Exhibition – The Crown/Coma (Of National Importance Records)

Double A-Side, first full release for the Yorkshire band and a quite staggering leap forward in comparison to the material heard by Tasty toward the end of last year. Recorded with Dave Sanderson (Alvarez Kings, Reverend & The Maker) the band are primarily propelled by the tastefully soulful baritone voice of Pete Dand and have an approach that is vaguely Elbow, vaguely a lot of other things. They have obviously taken advantage of the appalling winter by locking themselves in their rehearsal rooms, learned how to emote with focus and created two rather stunning tracks as a result.

The Crown, whose mourning, chorused guitar chimes Johnny Marr would surely nod his head in approval, contains some absolute gems of lines like “My act is a veil/You lift above the brow” wearily voiced over a minimalist clicking background before breaking into a widescreen hopeful ascent.

Coma, a distant, dissonant sounding thing propelled by a striking Andrew Murray bassline is a concentrated burst of emotion, complete with guitar solo which is normally a bad thing since most solos are a piss poor state of affairs that tend to detract from the song but the Taxman-style clattering, dischordant squall here makes perfect sense and brings back memories of early offerings by 90’s also-rans Catherine Wheel.

What we are witnessing is a band beginning to fire on all cylinders. God help us all. 8/10

RM


 

The Good Natured – Your Body Is A Machine

My first thought after listening to this song was: “If it were possible for Florence Welch and La Roux to conceive a child together and it released a single it would sound a lot like this”. Although after the fifth or six time I was left staring at my computer screen in awe of what I was hearing, It was pure bliss and the first time I’ve almost been rendered speechless. It is a melodic emotion filled track that bursts with eccentricity and vulnerability yet leaves you begging for more. I never would have guessed a girl my own age was behind this, at just 18 years old, Sarah Macintosh, is definitely one to look out for in 2010.

Carrie Russell


The Shills - Sweet Inertia

Cambridge 5 piece The Shills say of their music “We use our band to convey and deliver us from our frustration, its a vehicle to release us” which may sound poncey but really does show in the inspiring and uplifting sound of Sweet Inertia. The band takes elements of rock and 80’s post-punk to create an urgent sound that is as suave and sophisticated as it is driving and powerful. The rumbling treble laden bass in the verses sets the dark tone of the tune á la Bauhaus, right until the guitars cut through into the anthemic chorus line. Don’t be put off by that word, I don’t mean anthemic in an overblown stadium rock way but with a vocal that displays real passion, fight and a band saying what they mean and meaning it. 8/10

Antonio Tzikas

 

Neon Highwire - Luminescence EP (Health Bomber)

Well, well, well. Neon Highwire theoretically should be brilliant - “dirty electro and angular post-rock guitar soundscapes,” is always a sentence that fills me with joy. But, I have to say that ‘Luminescence” is a little bit rubbish.

Opener ‘Neon Blink’ is a jumble of noises and effects to a backing of mundane guitars and bass drums which, theoretically should be a wonderful three minute joyride of electro fun but instead is just monotonous. The lack of tone or dynamics fizzles out any chance of excitement. ‘Don’t: Wait’ and ‘Isometric View’ sound like the disembodied leftovers of the last Hadouken! album scraped up off the filthy floor of a Hoxton club and horrifically regurgitated into a piece of polyvinyl.

But wait! What is this? Some bad impressions of 80’s synth pop? Fabulous. Both ‘Creation #4.00’ and ‘Under Moonlight’ take inspiration from the era of music that taste forgot to no avail whatsoever.

Just don’t go anywhere near this EP. Unless you just so happen to like cheap versions of “dirty electro and angular post-rock guitar soundscapes”.

Eloise Quince

 
 

Robin Guthrie – Sunflower Stories (Rocket Girl)

There’s no doubting Guthrie’s credentials which involve more than passing namechecks of My Bloody Valentine, Ian McCulloch, Edwin Collins and of course the Cocteau Twins but it’s impossible not to feel that ‘Sunflower Stories’ is more an extension of his film soundtrack works than it is a compelling musical work in its own right. There’s 4 tracks here in total but they easily just drift over each other – pleasant echoey reverbing guitars and gentle melodies but it’s nothing more than aural wallpaper – I have quite easily sat through this about 5 times without it making any lasting impression on me whatsoever. 5/10
www.robinguthrie.net

SB

 
 

Sensorites – Spacemen

Lovingly packaged in brown manilla bag, this jet black CD promises exotic hidden treasures. Sadly the reality is that ‘Spacemen’ is certainly not bad but it’s no work of great invention either. More a languid trippy MOR affair, Sensorites sound hints at great expanses of open countryside and road trips involving voyages of discovery but sadly undertaken in an Austin Metro. 6/10
www.myspace.com/sensorites

SB


LostboyAKA Jim Kerr – Shadowland (Ear Music)

Jim Kerr? The Jim Kerr? Yes – it truly is the Simple Minds front man’s first ever solo venture and it throws up a number of quandaries to me. You see, I used to be a bit of a Simple Minds fan (stop laughing) – first album I ever bought, first gig I ever saw – it was Simple Minds. Seek out some of their early independent stuff (I recommend ‘Sons and Fascinations’ or Reel to Reel Cacophany’) – they definitely weren’t the stadium friendly pop monsters they were to become. Some more learned musical commentators than I even consider them one of the precursors of the Goth movement. So for Jim Kerr to turn out something now, should I just hope for the best or roundly condemn what may be a visible commercial grab?

Well, as it goes, ‘Shadowland’ is actually really good. You’d be hard pressed to get a cigarette paper between it and the sound of Simple Minds but it is rather good nonetheless. The big ringing open guitar chords are pure Charlie Burchill (though it was only fellow Simple Minder drummer Mel Gaynor who actually played on this) and Kerr’s voice still has a bit croaky atmosphere about it. The album has been farmed out to someone less emotionally attached for review – I shall await the review with interest. 8/10
www.lotboyaka.com
watch video to 'Shadowland'

SB

 
 

Rubicks – Giddy Up (Sharp Attack)

Prepare yourself for some seriously good electro indie pop here. Although moving into slightly more electronic ground than before, Rubicks pull off ‘Giddy Up’ (which sounds a bit like CSS doing the sound track to a porn movie) with great aplomb. Actaully, thinking about it, maybe ‘pulling off’ was an inappropriate phrase to use here. Either way – ‘Giddy Up’ is a big dizzying mix or colliding synths and ostensibly sexy vocals – very grown up music for cool cats. 8/10
www.rubicks.net

SB


 

Emika – Double Edge (Ninja Tune)

Emika really does have a sound quite unlike anything else I’ve ever heard. There’s an over-bearing claustrophobic bassy feel and various glitchy electronics all stitched together with Emika’s atmospheric breathless vocals. It’s actually quite unnerving – steer clear if you are of a nervous disposition. 7/10
www.myspace.com/emikamyspace

SB

 

Tunng – Sashimi (Full Time Hobby)

The first of a number of good time, summer songs I’d expect to hear this month. Tunng’s quirky ‘Sashimi’ snugly combines its boy-girl vocals, samples, and big open chords quite beautifully here – like a big band version of Psapp. 7/10
www.thisistunng.co.uk

SB

 
 

Way Pristine – Inverted/Converted

Of late we’ve been pretty impressed with a number of Italian bands which have graced the pages of Tasty and at first glance Way Pristine start of Inverted/Converted with a promisingly threatening intro. But then just when you are expecting the big change up, the big chorus...it goes really shit. This is a horrible poppy chorus that lumbers along and makes the band’s own comparison with the likes of Perfect Circle frankly laughable. Fortunately the accompanying track ‘13th’ is a lot better and malevolently chunters along quite nicely (though again it suffers from a bit of a lack of progression). 4/10

SB

 
 

Projekt – The Compass

Projekt sound a bit like a Frankenstein’s monster of a band. There’s all sorts of bit parts going, harvested from various musical benefactors like Primal Scream, The Verve and maybe even Oasis. But like all Frankestein’s monsters, the joints where the parts are stitched together still feel a bit sore and the whole being is a little uncoordinated – musically a bit jarring and schizophrenic. A work in progress. 6/10
www.projektmusic.com

SB

 

Attack! Attack! – Not Afraid (Atticus Black)

If it’s not too much of an oxymoron, Attack! Attack! sounds like angsty teen emo rock but for adults. The melodies and scream are familiar but the choppy, beefy delivery of the guitars and the tumbling drums are more reminiscent of Foo Fighters, Kings of Leon and Biffy Clyro. Musically rather good then. Sadly the band goes onto to spoil it with some ridiculous claims about the meaning of the song, “[Not Afraid] is a message that states as long as you keep faith in what you do, you can achieve what you set out to achieve” – if only it were that simple in real life...7/10
www.myspace.com/attackattackband

SB

 
 

Sennen – With You (Hungry Audio)

Having been highly impressed by Sennen’s previous single ‘Age of Denial’ it was with sweaty palms that the ‘With You’ CD got pushed into the stereo. ‘With You’ does not have the driving post rock vibe about it that ‘Age of Denial’ exhibits but is a much more melodic, shoe gazing affair, reminiscent of Mercury Rev and maybe JAMC. It’s still a massive sound and delightfully put together though – maybe 2010 will be the year that Sennen break out of their East Anglian heartlands. 7/10
www.sennen.org.uk

SB

 
 

The Drums - Forver and Ever Amen

“Forever and Ever Amen” lacks the same instant warm weather feel as previous works from The Drums such as the hugely popular “Best Friend” and of course “I Felt Stupid”. The single begins with a blurry bass guitar and soon the roundabout guitar riff kicks in. Jonathon Pierce’s smooth voice flows over the top brilliantly and the lyrics remind me of the typical 70s love songs “And all the power in the Earth could never take you from my heart. And it’s forever, baby”. Sweet.

I think it is a shame to say, that this track hasn’t quite had the same effect on me as their other songs. However, it does still give you that same warm summery feeling and I can’t wait to hear their debut album due for release in June. 6/10

Lib Grant

 

Maycomb – Crystal Tiger Blues (All Aboard Records)

Maycomb’s five-track EP, ‘Crystal Tiger Blues’, is perfect for adolescent girls. Move over Fall Out Boy, Wolverhampton-based university student band, Maycomb, have the faux-American accent, the tattoos, the bitter-sweet emo whinging and the power harmonies - and are ready to fill a Good Charlotte or My Chemical Romance-shaped gap in the pop-punk market.

Admittedly, stand-out track ‘Always the Courage’ has a catchy hook and opening track, ‘Hope House’ demonstrates their musical ability by throwing in a couple of different time signatures. Well written, commercially-viable, power-pop. But not my cup of tea. 5/10

Jenny Williams

 
 

Will and The People - Mr Sketchy

There's nothing wrong with this track, it's catchy and danceable and infused with a retro-pop vibe. Very summery. Having said that, there isn't a lot that's right with it. Here, the People back Will up with a pleasant acoustic indie-pop noise whilst he sings some nonsense about giving someone a Rolo or something. Basically, it's cookie-cutter "grown up" pop in the style of The Feeling or The Hoosiers. it's all very nice, if you're into that sort of thing. if not, don't bother. seriously. 3/10

Daniel Shields

 

Trunks - Kniee/Journey to the Line

Trunks are a french sextet who know how to compose a really intimidating tune. This single showcases their abilities perfectly. The a-side, Kniee is the only track that features Laetitia Shériff's typically abstract lyrics, her vocals focussing on melody, rather than meaning, whilst the rest of the band burns with an incredible, restrained intensity.

there's something about these tracks that's almost scary to the listener, like how the scariest parts of a horror movie happen just offscreen. The band manipulates you, hinting at the deafening, cacophonous noise that they're clearly capable of, but just like that horror movie, they leave the rest up to the imagination of the audience.

at times, the band drones disorientatingly, sounding like Sonic Youth at their best and at other times, a de-fuzzed Jesus and Mary Chain. especially on the instrumental b-side, Journey to the Line. it's a slow-burning affair which sounds like the amazing In The House - In A Heartbeat, from the 28 days later soundtrack, but just better. there are more amazing songs on this single than there have been on most other albums in recent years. Trunks are most definitely the type of band you need to hear at least once. 8/10

Daniel Shields

 
 

Curry & Coco – Sex is Fashion (Peermusic/Zebralution)

I normally like a bit of synthetic pop music but ‘Sex is Fashion’ gets right on my nerves. It may be the insistent hissy drum sounds or the overtly cheesey melody but it’s not going to be going on any of my playlists. B’side ‘Who’s Next’ is very much more of the same, played out on the same £9.99 charity shop Casio. 4/10

SB

 
 

Charlotte Gainsbourg – Time of the Assassins (Because)

Not one of her best tracks but a perfectly acceptable gently lilting number perfectly suited to Gainsbourg’s ethereal vocal style. You could argue that it is so gentle that it passes you by and fails to make any lasting impression at all. The remixes fail to add any real additional substance either so just be satisfied with this 3 minutes of background music. 5/10
www.charlottegainsbourg.com

SB

 
 

Sub Focus feat. Coco – Splash (Ram)

Hmm, SIgue Sigue Sputnik anyone? Admittedly as though remixed by Pendulum, but Sigue Sigue Sputnik nonetheless. Dammit – I’ve been listening to the wrong track – that was Timewarp VIP. Turns out ‘Splash’ is a little better – an Ibiza dance anthem of a track remixed by Pendulum. Coco’s vocals also add a gritty edge to it and leave this as quite an intriguing cross-genre piece which threatens to kick off at any given moment. 7/10
www.myspace.com/subfocus

SB

 
 

Sixty Watt Bayonets – I Wish I Was Your Girlfriend (Broken Tail)

An unusual music/tungsten lamp reference they may be, but the sound of ‘I Wish I Was Your Girlfriend’ has that more familiar stripped-down sound of the Libertines or White Stripes, admittedly bashed out with a hyperactive tambourine brandishing gusto. It’s akin to having your head out of the window as the car drives along at 70mph – it’s briefly refreshing but you wouldn’t want to leave it out there any longer than the two minutes which this track lasts. 6/10

SB

 
 

Wishbone Ash – Reason to Believe (Barebones)

This is Wishbone Ash’ first release in twenty years apparently. And there’s no wonder – it’s awful. It’s full of radio friendly cheesey moments and is interspersed with guitar riffs and licks from Andy Powell that need firmly consigning to the past. To quote my missus when she walked into and heard me listening to ‘Reason To Believe’, she simply said, ”This is disgusting.” 1/10
www.wishboneash.com

SB

 
 

Ellie Goulding – Guns and Horses (Polydor)

I saw Ellie Goulding on telly yesterday – she’s a pretty girl and she was talking in a confident way about someone else’s video or somesuch. Her delivery on ‘Guns and Horses’ is similar – it’s whispish and self assured. But like the top 50 videos of all time, I think it would be pretty easy to turn off at any given moment. That is, until the very end (in which case you would be turning off anyway I suppose) when there is a really funky outro. 6/10
www.elliegoulding.co.uk

SB

 
 

Ocean Bottom Nightmare – What Would Judas Do?

I like Ocean Bottom Nightmare. There’s definitely a touch of Biffy and the Foos in this Chris Sheldon produced single which stacks riffs on riffs and breaks down breakdowns with regularity. But it does still sound like the vocalist is repeatedly retching throughout the song. This may be seen as a weakness though as far as I am concerned the jury is still out on the suitability of vom-noise in music. I’ll give anything a go once. 7/10
www.oceanbottomnightmare.com

SB

 
 

Adam Parker – Smart Man

I really wasn’t expecting to enjoy this at all but ‘Smart Man’ possesses a driving rhythm all of its own in the simple strummed acoustic guitar and there’s nicely off-kilter keyboard and synth parts which make this more than just a saccharine sweet singer songwriter attempt. 7/10
www.myspace.com/adamparkeruk

SB

 
 

Violent Soho – Son of Sam / Bombs over Broadway (Ecstatic Peace/Defacto)

Violent by name, violent by nature. ‘Son of Sam’ rumbles into existence with a fade-in intro and from then on in it is very grungey and not a little like a darker Offspring. There’s nothing clever or insinuated here, just the clunking fist of a band pummelling their instruments and vocal chords. ‘Bombs Over Broadway’ is a slightly poppier track but still demonstrates all the grungey elements of ‘Son of Sam’. Nice stuff. 7/10

SB

 
 

Blighters – Heartbeat (Hungry Audio)

Nope – don’t like it. Blighters sound like they are trying particularly hard to come across as disco cool but the excess of reverb and general new wave sounds just makes this sound a bit jaded and derivative to me. 5/10

SB

 
 

Tender Trap – Girls with Guns (Fortuna Pop!)

Having bolstered their ranks with guitars and drums of Elizabeth Morris and Katrina Dixon respectively, Tender Trap have moved both forward from their more electronic past and backward to an era where production was simply recording the sound of your musicians without any clever technical jiggery pokery. There’s no pause for breath as ‘Girls with Guns’ bursts to life and skiffles its way through 180 seconds of girl on girl harmonies and rather sexual guitarlicks. 7/10
www.myspace.com/tendertrap

SB

 
 

Tweak Bird – A Sun/Ahh Ahh (Souterrain Transmissions)

I wonder if when Tweak Bird set out to make ‘A Sun’ they were trying to go for an intro that sounded like the Proclaimers? Thereafter the similarities judder to an end. It’s basically quite proggy with lots of baritone guitar and even some jazz sax giving the song a freeform, improvised character. It dopes build nicely towards the end but you still feel Tweak Bird were holding back a little and could really have exploded in the finale. ‘Ahh Ahh’ is far more direct and immediate yet proportionally less satisfying than it’s more cerebral accompanying track. Either way though, an interesting pair of songs and a band worthy of further consideration. 8/10
www.myspace.com/tweakbird

SB

 
 

Teenagers in Tokyo – End it Tonight (Back Yard)

It’s hard to believe this is a debut single from Teenagers in Tokyo – it’s just so assured and confident. It’s glamorously disco yet austere like Joy Division’s ‘Transmission’ at the same time – great things beckon. 8/10
www.myspace.com/teenagersintokyo

SB

 
 

The Bang Bang Club – Chemistry (BPM)

On the one hand you could class this as some kind of new proto-disco, the natural progression of MGMT. On the other hand, you could think it is rather bad Euro cheese or a summer chav-club anthem. I couldn’t possibly comment but I’ll leave a clue in its score. 3/10
www.thebangbangclub.com

SB

 
 

Ingrid Michaelson – The Way I Am

I couldn’t give a monkey’s about how many records she has sold, how many members of Girls Aloud she has written for or how many appearances on American Idol she has made – this is dull. I do like her spectacles on the cover artwork though – just like my dear late grandma’s. 2/10
www.ingridmichaelson.com

SB

 
 

BULLiT – Get With It

Oh dear, why the lower case ‘i’? Or why the upper case for the rest of the word? And good as The Police definitely are, why copy the pre-chorus from ‘Don’t Stand So Close to Me’ as the main chorus for opening track ‘Cheetah’? ‘Crazy’ does little to raise my spirits either and by the time I’ve ploughed through ‘Get With It’ and it’s wilful sub-Frusciante riffs, the prospect of listening to final track ‘Sweet’ is not filling me with glee. And it does not fail to disappoint. Despite their grade 8 drummer and session guitarist, BULLiT really do sound a little weak and pub bandish. 4/10
www.myspace.com/bullituk

SB

 
 

Lethal Bizzle & Nick Bridges feat. Luciana – Go Go Go (Lethal Bizzle)

Following the watery, non-dimensional music of BULLiT you can’t help but love Lethal Bizzle’s ‘Go Go Go’. It’s almost as though Lethal B and ‘Go Go Go’ is a caricature of himself – all hyped up grimey hip hop with lines like ‘Lethal Bizzle let’s go, got his super model bitches in tow’ – what a laugh. It is a joke right? Who cares – it sounds good. 8/10
www.lethalbizzlerecords.co.uk

SB

 
 

Late Night Venture – Illuminations EP (Quartermain)

An unexpected pleasure here from the previously unknown (to me at least) Late Night Venture. Hailing from Denmark, they describe themselves musically as a ‘mix of post rock/shoe gaze flavoured atmospherics and multilayered soundscapes’. This touches on the sound but none of those individual descriptions really hit the mark. I’d say LNV are not that dissimilar to Deus as their tracks seem to lend themselves more to composition and multilayered melodies rather than a great dependence on dynamics more associated with post rock. Either way, they are bloody good.

‘Love Respect Call’ starts things off with prettiness and poise underpinned with a slightly more hard edged drum piece and a glorious euphoric finale. But they also do a more Spartan sound as demonstrated in ‘Acorns Fall’, bringing to mind an iLiKETRAiNS-style of precise and careful crescendo and precision. Well worth checking out. 8/10
www.latenightventure.dk

SB

 
 

Dextro – Zero Circle EP (16k)

Very much a labour of love, this release comes as a limited edition 12” vinyl clearly not preoccupied with winning any corporate sales targets. Which is what it should be about. Instead it gives Dextro the opportunity to commit to record several takes on the seminal track ‘Ring Cycle’ from their recent ‘Winded’ album.

Having already been won over by Dextro’s previous two albums, full of lush soundscapes and immaculately conceived atmospherics, the most interesting part of ‘Zero Circle’ to me was their live version, demonstrating a slightly more percussive reliant sound making for an interesting departure from the recorded version.

There’s also two other remixes where Socco Chico and TVO bring their own stylings to the track, thankfully in a way that isn’t just a simple re-jigging of the original but a more considered and comprehensive re-working. And the final track, an Alias Anticon remix of ‘Pacifist’ is equally individualistic. All round a fine EP. 8/10
www.dextro.co.uk

SB

 
 

The Scottish Enlightenment – Pascal (Armellodie)

Steeped in thoughtful and provocative lyrics, you’d probably never know about anything that The Scottish Enlightenment’s David Moyes is singing about, such is his indecipherable drawl. But don’t take that as a total condemnation – as far as I am concerned meanings and lyrics only add an additional layer of interest to a song but they can exist simply as a the sound of a human voice designed to aurally please (no sniggering at the back, I said aurally, not orally). And there is a soporific charm about Moyes delivery which stands the test on its own, particularly set against the simplistic arrangements here. It does have an overbearing sense of miserableness but every so often there is a sudden turn of dynamism which stands out all the more for being slightly out of place (such as in ‘If You Would Just Try a Little Bit Harder’). As we settle into the EP there’s also an increasingly obvious Pavement-tinged element to the likes of ‘All Homemade Things’.

This won’t be to everyone’s liking – it’s pretty gentle and might bore those unable to concentrate much past the opening credits of Eastenders. But stick with it (and play it very loud) and you might just be rewarded. 7/10
www.thescottishenlightenment.com

SB

 
 

Hind Ear – Origami/Coconut (Nouns)

This (‘Coconut’) sounds a bit like the sort of row me and my mates used to make in my Dad’s garage when we were trying to start a band at school. Well, the underlying growly sample bit does – in fairness the main guitar parts and general musicality are far superior to our efforts on the pots and pans drumkit. But it does go on a bit – a little bit self-centred perhaps, though in fairness they do manage to kick up a fair din over the last minute of the song.

‘Origami’ by comparison is a little bit more straight forward musically, fading in over more than a minute with an increasingly diverse range of percussion. It’s all very clever with an organ drone roping everything together though again you could argue that it basically sounds like a jam developing over an extended period of time and with a bit more effort Hind Ear could have condensed this into a more immediate and meaningful track. 6/10
www.myspace.com/hindear

SB

 
 

Cocosuma - The Jar (Third Side)

Press release in bang-on-the-money alert. ‘The Jar’ does sound very much like a modern day Blondie. And let’s remember that Blondie were very good, so what’s wrong with a modern day version? Nowt my friends – this is ace. This is sassy, sexy and funky all at once – damn these effortlessly stylish cool Parisians.
www.myspace.com/cocosuma

SB

 
 

Detroit Social Club – Prophecy (Fiction)

Big anthemic stadium rock a la Kasabian/Primal Scream etc is the name of the game here. And as it goes, ‘Prophecy’ is a pretty good stab at it – full of great hooks, catchy hand claps and singalong choruses. Festival paydirt awaits. 7/10
www.detroitsocialclub.net

SB

 
 

The Violet May – Bright or Better / This Crowd is Overcrowded (Oh! Inverted World)

This is strangely reminiscent of the Detroit Social Club single that I’ve just listened to, especially ‘This Crowd is Overcrowded’. The main divergence would be The Violet May’s modern take on the Goth sound. Very agreeable without really captivating. 7/10
www.myspace.com/thevioletmay

SB

 
 

Morcheeba – Even Though (PIAS)

The band themselves sum up this one pretty accurately. Skye says ‘It Sounds Like Morcheeba of course!’ And this is more telling than it might seem at face value. There’s little attempt to update Morcheeba’s sound since their previous outings back in 2002 – we’re still very much it her realm of chill-out. But if it ain’t broke, why fix it. It might not have the instant appeal of ‘Trigger Hippie’ or ‘The Sea’ but it’s nice enough for a warm summer evening. 6/10
www.morcheeba.co.uk

SB

 
 

Teenage Fanclub – Baby Lee (Memphis Industries)

I’ve never really understood the close juxtaposition of the likes of Sonic Youth and Teenage Fanclub. I was never a ‘Fanny’ in their early days – far too fey for my tastes, and with ‘Baby Lee’ my views are firmly concreted. I find this track really quite objectionably middle of the road and formulaic – without trying they seem to have become definite Radio 3 music. 3/10

SB

 
 

Matthew Glenn Thompson – Ordinary Girl (Teddev/ASCAP)

No no no. Name sounds like a law firm and the music sounds like it might have been created in the typing pool. Unimaginative and depressingly formulaic. Poor. 2/10
www.matthewglennthompson.com

SB

 
 

The Trade – Fight Club

You know when you have that embarrassing situation when a friend has got a bit of bad breath stinking you out and you tactfully need to tell them? It’s not that you don’t value your friendship, it’s just better to tell them? Well The Trade may have that same problem with their singer. No, not his breath. You see, musically they’ve got it going on - there’s some really interesting guitar parts going on here. But with the current vocals it is just dragging them down into the realms of heartfelt earnest rockers – they’re not bad as such but just very much of a particular genre which will pigeonhole the group as a whole. Decision time. 5/10
www.myspace.com/thetradesempire

SB

 
 

Club Smith - The Process EP (All Sorted)

Leeds based indie band Club Smith tick all the boxes for guitar music coming out the UK at the moment. It’s a bit dark, it’s a bit moody and it’s a bit ‘atmospheric’ . It’s kind of like Interpol but not as good, it’s kind of like a darker Killers but not as good...you know what I mean?

Despite its post-punk influences what this EP boils down to is truly dull and tedious music...the instrumentation is there, the big production is there and the arrangements are there but I can’t hear any soul in it. The band make use of the polished and produced sound that whilst making the track sound bigger and more ‘epic’ simultaneously drains every ounce of feeling and energy from the song. Theres nothing original in the music either, everything sounds cheesy and recycled and it’s all been heard before.

I hear way too much of this kind of anthemic moody indie coming out of the UK and it annoys me that the UK indie scene has become so uninspiring and bland that my interests have been allowed to be taken over by US hipsters who’ve made better tunes using garageband, two drums, a guitar and one microphone. No matter how something is recorded it’s the melody and the musical energy that makes a good song and until bands like this one learn that squeaky clean production does not turn a bad song into a good one we’re going to be stuck with band after band churning out short lived festival anthems, enjoy your summer. 4/10

A.T.

 
 

The Woe Betides – Sylvia (Songs in the Dark)

There’s something curiously compelling about this melange of fat bass-driven melody and overlaid vocal harmonies. It’s a bit like someone loving music and really experimenting with it for the first time. 7/10
www.myspace.com/thewoebetides

SB

 
 

Redtrack – Perfectly Fine Intellectual (Label Fandango)

Nicely off kilter power pop/post punky sounds here from Essex based Redtracks. They have a very familiar sound yet manage to retain their own personal marker which straddles the poppier and punkier limits of the genre. ‘Perfectly Fine Intellectual’ and perfectly formed. 7/10
www.redtrack.co.uk

SB

 

Noisia – Split the Atom (Vision/Division)

I’m not sure where you’d listen to ‘Split the Atom’ but you’d definitely want to listen to it somewhere. This techno-edged electronica is a bit too hard to be background music but a bit too complex and disjointed to make for a real good dancefloor track, I have personally decided to opt for listening to it in the car – it doesn’t make me a better driver but it does sound good. 8/10
www.noisia.nl

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Alphabeat – DJ (Fascination)

It sounds like pop and it smells like pop then it probably is pop. Although this maybe slightly masked in a pseudo indie-dance guise it is basically an updated version of Aqua’s ‘Barbie Girl’ – I make no apologies for the Danish connection between the two bands. Lady Ga Ga lite. 5/10
www.thisisalphabeat.com

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Run Toto Run – Hater

That’s an odd name for single and it’s not long listening before you realise this is not your run of the mill track. Big orchestral production but maintaining a tight compressed sound, ‘Hater’ has a slightly psychotic demented edge to it. It’s claustrophobic and slightly awkward but this just endears the track to me more – no slickness here. 7/10

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Ignition – Take Me There

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t think that all music has to grab you by the genitals and shake you around to make you take notice to be successful. Ignition have a good sound – powerful vocal s and neatly composed songs. But I did notice that during listening to this single that James Anderson had switched to bowling from the Pavillion end at Lords, my basil pot plants were in need of a bit of water and that despite an unhealthy amount of coffee, my eyelids were feeling pretty heavy. ‘Take Me There’ ends up being epic without being epic. 6/10
www.myspace.com/ignitionmusic

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Brother/Ghost – Black Ice (Shelsmusic)

6 tracks is long for an EP in my book so forgive me for any brevity of description. But Brother/Ghost from Austin have created here a real EP of substance which deserves attention. Commencing with the title track, there’s nice drones and tribal chanting rounds which atmospherically merge seamlessly into the slightly post-rock vibe of ‘Waal’. Very much a slow burner, ‘Waal’ has a poise and power amplified by the emphasised clean guitar line melody suddenly ripped apart against the ear-shredding distorted guitar piece. Nothing complicated as such, just perfectly put together with refrains and codas to boot.

There’s also doleful majesty in tracks such as ‘Touch Something and Say Dead’ which brings to mind iLiKETRAiNS and Her Name Is Calla. The two-part ‘Baby Sharks’ incorporates both these melancholy and uplifting vibes in a schizophrenic track lurching from sanity to madness and back again leaving us to round off the whole EP with the wolf-like howls of the ‘Black Ice reprise’. Staggeringly confident and competent but not for the depressed. 8/10
www.myspace.com/brotherghostband

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The Operation – Come Clean (Iota)

Sounds to me like Come Clean are aiming very certainly towards a Biffy/Kings of Leon style sound of big rock-edged indie foot stompers (though they claim to look back to an older musical heritage of classic rock/pop of the 70’s). Either way, they hit the spot as they are so damned sure about what they are doing. Lazy journo phrases like ‘adrenaline fuelled’ and ‘riff-laden’ come to mind and describe the record perfectly, thus cementing my position as a lazy journalist. 7/10
www.myspace.com/theoperationuk

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