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singles/eps - june 2010



Wildbirds & Peacedrums – Retina (The Leaf Label)

Less is more, so they say, and Wildbirds & Peacedrums are definitely working by this rule. This experimental folk two piece from Sweden really know how to capture the listener; their songs are built from very little apart from interweaving vocal melodies and softly pounding drums. The EP also features the vocal talents of the Schola Cantorum Reykjavik Chamber Choir (previously heard on Björk’s album Medulla).

Retina’s stand out song ‘Tiny Holes in This World’ begins with a simple drum track enriched by effects and loops. As the drums create the mood of the piece, vocal lines come in one by one gradually building to a crescendo of drums and chamber choir counter melodies. The song is powerful and chilling leaving you eager to listen on... Disappointingly that which follows is just more of the same. By the time the third song on the five track EP has arrived, you know exactly what to expect – vocals and drums. It’s a real shame as there really are no bad songs on the EP, it just starts to drag a little. I listened hoping for anything like a string section or piano to come in to add a little more depth to the music, but was left disheartened.

They do say less is more, however this is a touch too much ‘less’ for my liking.
www.wildbirdsandpeacedrums.com

James Borland


Echo Lake - Sink EP

Knowing that Echo Lake consist of multi-instrumentalists, with “no clear frontman per-se” before listening to their debut ‘Sink EP’ one could be for forgiven for being a little apprehensive. It’s hard enough to find musicians good enough at their own instruments, so to find three guys that can seamlessly swap between guitar, bass and drums without compromising their sound could seem nigh on impossible.

If you are one of these pessimistic folk (and admittedly I was…) then you will be pleasantly surprised as opening song ‘Sink’ crashes in with its Biffy Clyro-esque riffs. Even more so as the song takes a step back to almost a power ballad feel, with vocal harmonies becoming as strong as the instrumentation below it. Their songs take you through highs and lows, one minute intense drums and bass driven riffs flitting through different time signatures, the next taking you down to simple (yet extremely catchy) vocal hooks. You wonder how Echo Lake quite got from one place to the other so seamlessly, as none of the changes sound forced in the slightest. By the third song, ‘Spark,’ their formula is becoming extremely familiar, leaving you wondering what else Echo Lake can do… Bring on an acoustic version of their “live favourite” Eyelids. This final song on the EP brings a welcome change; the intricate vocal harmonies are allowed to shine through, haunting pianos pad out the picked acoustic guitars all building up to an intense end to the EP with a string section adding extra warmth.

Overall ‘Sink EP’ consists of four strong songs; however they do lack a certain tightness as a band that I’m sure will come with time (they have only been together for five months after all). I do think that without the final acoustic song on there it would get lost amongst all other Biffy Clyro/ Hundred Reasons sound-a-likes though, I can only hope that they feel the same way…

James Borland


Glissando – The Long Lost/Of Silence (Gizeh Records)

Leeds’ Glissando return with a sublime double a-side release taken from their second album (which is due to be released towards the year’s end). As on their debut, ‘With Our Arms Wide Open We March Towards The Burning Sea,’ Elly May Irving’s haunting vocals again add an eerie and slightly spine-chilling quality, leaving you lingering for her every last word as you are slowly absorbed by the beautiful but dark piano melody. Although recorded in the “cold winter of 2010” this record could equally be suited to watching the sun begin to slowly set on a summer’s evening as the shadows grow longer. The two tracks work stunningly side by side and conjure up reminders of The Paradise Motel and Wildbirds & Peacedrums’ softer moments. Another highly recommended release from Gizeh Records.

Mark Whiffin

 

Paul Weller - Wake up the Nation

Its hard to think of anyone whos inspired more terrible music than Paul Weller, but even so, the guy gets a bad rap. You can't really blame him personally for the wave after wave of 'three chords and the truth' indie dullards who cite the Jam as an influence (Ocean Colour Scene were probably his fault though - no excuses there).

But old grandad mod-trousers isn't necessarily the lad-rock cliche some people like to think he is. Without the 'godfather' status he had during britpop, hes been free to make albums pretty much at his discretion and seems to be getting progressively more curious and experimental with age. Hes into Sunn O)) for christ's sake. I used to sit next to a guy at work who'd play his '22 Dreams' album on repeat, and you know what, its not bad. There was the odd predictable half-assed rock song but also bits of folk, psych and soul in the deep cuts.

'Wake up the Nation' is the first single from the follow up. Whilst the album's supposed to have Kevin Shields collaborations and Musik Conrete sound collages, this single plays far more to his base. Its a vaguely stompy rocker with some nice honky brass but still about a tenth as angry a song called 'Wake up the Nation' should. Its more 'slightly annoy the neighbours', not so much a call to arms as the guy at the end of the bar moaning about modern life. No Tears to Cry', the double A-side (presumable tucked on there for the more sensitive Radio 2 audience) is a decent stab at Motown, but you get the impression he writes about 6 songs like this before breakfast.

Anyway, the album's supposed to be quite good, but this single might not necessarily have been the best advert for it. 6/10

Andy Glynn

 

Infesticons – Bombs Anthem (Big Dada)

You could probably write what I know about hip-hop on a very small piece of paper. But I do know what I like and what I think sounds good and Infesticons definitely fall into this bracket. ‘Bombs Anthem’ is hard edged and has a great backing track courtesy of Mike Ladd. Seeing as Infesticons emerged from the New York Underground scene (info courtesy of press release) I’m guessing this is kind of East coast thing? Alarm bells are ringing. Better stop. 8/10
www.myspace.com/murkleman1

SB

 

John Foxx & the Maths – Destination / September Town

John Foxx has many well respected collaborators and fans including Gary Numan, Leftfield, Aphex Twin and Klaxons. But to me it seems like this double offering is firmly retrospective – looking back and celebrating his greatly admired analogue synth sound rather than forging ahead with anything fresh for the future. It’s not that either ‘Destination’ or ‘September Town’ are bad at all, it’s just that they evoke all the things you already associate with analogue synths, and that sadly includes the fact that every so often they can sound a little bit crap, especially in comparison with modern means. 6/10
www.metamatic.com

SB


 

Lorn – Cherry Moon (Brainfeeder)

Tasty comrade Moker could not have put it any better when describing Lorn in the review of his debut album ‘Nothing Else’. Sounds like 65 Days of Static without the guitars. His mastery of harnessing emotion and vibrancy within an electronic format is what stands him apart from many of his contemporaries. There’s even a little hint of early German electronica in this sound but married with a more visceral, raw atmosphere which makes it feel like the track is closing in around you. 8/10
www.myspace.com/lornnn

SB

 

Above Them – Keep Smiling (Inhaler)

Everytime I used to go to the dentist as a kid I remember being able to choose a new sticker from his box of stickers before having havoc wreaked on my poor milk teeth. And one of those stickers simply said ‘Keep Smiling’ across a slightly sinister Joker-esque grinning mouth. It’s haunted me ever since so maybe this review is a little negatively biased. But ‘Keep Smiling’ is a little bit simplistic for me – obvious guitar changes and a bit of a poppy appeal. I much prefer the simpler acoustic version of ‘Scared’ which engenders a gentler, more polished vocal performance which gets away from the growly delivery of ‘Keep Smiling’. Growly. Keep Smiling. That’s ironic, eh? 6/10
www.myspace.com/abovethem

SB


The Lucky Face – Like Ronnie Said to Phil

I think The Lucky Face have moved on from sounding like a Paul Shane tribute band to sounding a bit like a Rod Stewart B-side with ‘Like Ronnie Said to Phil’. Plenty of harmonica and maybe a touch of Joe Cocker pathos, this is the sort of music that sounds like it is wrought of late nights, too much whisky and a shedload of tabs – pretty untrendy at the moment but not without its very own charms and merits. 6/10
www.theluckyface.co.uk

SB

 

Ventura feat. David Yow – It’s Raining on One of My Islands/LA Petit Chaperon Beige (Lausanne)

Formed as part of a scheme to get bands in Lausanne to collaborate with their favourite artists, ‘It’s Raining On One of My Islands’ is a brilliant raging beast of a track. The crunching guitar slabs and scuzzy bass parts perfectly complimenting Yow’s deranged delivery. And ‘While’ ‘It’s Raining...’ is a deliberate purposefully performed song, accompanying ‘La Petit Chaperon Beige’ is a glorious unruly mess, like Bleach-era Nirvana. The best thing to come out of Lausanne since the International Olympic Committee. 9/10
www.vntr.net

SB

 

Extra Life – Black Hoodie (LOAF)

I don’t think this will be squeezing onto the 4 Music playlist any time soon. Extra Life’s sound of forced vibrato and plucked strings is a curious mix of Morrissey and some kind of Mediaevel minstrel. Then they go singing about an item of clothing and all the hidden meaning and feelings created therein. And this is the most accessible track from the album! But don’t despair for at the root of all this leftfield merrymaking lurks the fundamental fact that it is quite a beautiful little track. 8/10
www.l-o-a-f.com

SB

 

Tinie Tempah feat. Labrinth – Frisky (Parlophone)

I say, are we in danger of verging clearly into the realms of, gulp, popular music here? Who’d have thought when we typed our last review of Tinie that ‘Pass Out’ would top the charts and become the biggest selling single of any UK artist this year? But on reading back, almost every part of that review still holds true for ‘Frisky’ – great backing track and production, cool sounding vocals but lyrics which are a bit, well, humorous at best and maybe a little sexist and adolescent at worst. Then there’s the slapstick vocal interlude stating ‘Frisky!’ every so often. For this reason alone I have decided that Tempah is going for humour and have upped his mark from 5/10 last time out. 7/10
http://www.tinietempah.com

SB

 

Delphic – Counterpoint (Chimeric)

Delphic’s original break through track ‘Counterpoint’ is still sounding good here and bristles with festival-buzzing energy. Musically similar to fellow Mancunians Performance and Leeds’ Heads We Dance, ‘Counterpoint’ carries that driving beat section which keeps things lively and which, on occasion is missing from some of their other tracks. But all is well here. 7/10

SB

 

Dog is Dead – Glockenspiel (Your Childhood)

This is a tricky one. There are elements of this I like such as the big sing along choruses. But there’s plenty that offends me too, not least the constantly warbling jazz-sax which chortles away merrily on its own path sounding like mid-80s Tears for Fears and distracting quite a bit from some otherwise uplifting work by the rest of the band. But at the end of the day there is an overwhelming sense of joy about this track which manages to tip the balance towards a positive and negate the other shortcomings. 6/10
http://www.myspace.com/dogisdeadband

SB

 

Wolfmother – Far Away (Modular)

I’ve got a feeling that Wolfmother are very much a Marmite band. They have just announced support slots with Kiss, ACDC and Them Crooked Vultures which should give you an idea of the sort of crowd they are appealing to. ‘Far Away’ is an unashamedly bombastic rock slowey in the finest tradition – and that means you probably either accompany it by lobbing bottles of piss over the heads of your fellow gig-goers and sway your lighter in the air above your head or you will be running away to find the nearest sound proof room. 5/10
www.wolfmother.com

SB

 

The Xcerts – Slackerpop (Xtra Mile)

Well this is a pretty lively little debut from The Xcerts second album. Much noisier and overtly grunge-influenced than their debut ‘In the Cold Wind We Smile’, ‘Slackerpop’ has definite sounds of Dinosaur Jr, Foos and even the odd bit of Sonic Youth in there. If like me these are bands you know and love then all is well. And even if you don’t like them, The Xcerts retain a slightly lighter, more upbeat approach than their precursors which should nicely straddle into the pop market also. 7/10
www.myspace.com/thexcerts

SB

 

Broken Links - The Fine Line Between Choice / Decay

So then, Broken Links. A trio of intense young men with a love of all things grungy and synthy. Opener, 'Reinvent' manages to sound familiar without sounding like any other band in particular. Its a powerful and earnest rock song but one with some sort of fairy dust sprinkled on top. Its got some gloriously murky fuzz bass on it too.

Not a single song on this record clocks in at under under 5 mins. You get the song proper and then a Kraftwerk style synth workout for a few minutes before the next one. Its a bit odd at first, this rock song/ electro wig out format - like two separate bands mixed together like a marble cake - but as the record goes on you start to get used to it. Anyone whos heard 'Infernal Love' by Therapy? and it's weird between-song interludes will get the deal. Maybe they'd be better if the two separate elements weren't so clearly delineated and they worked some of the more ambient, electronic side into the songs, but its still an interesting touch.

There are a lot of bands out there doing this sort of vaguely angsty, slightly post-punky, 'just a dash of goth' style indie, but Broken Links seem to be to be more than just a cheap Ian Curtis impression. Theres no lack of Choruses either. 'What are you waiting for?' is a fist-pumping anthem, and two or three of the other tracks could make decent singles.

Its a testament to his band that they seem to tread the line between pop and experimentation without making any compromise to one or the other. Imagine if Editors, Interpol, White Lies etc were actually proper rock bands and you'd have Broken Links. Definitely one to keep an eye on. 8/10

Andy Glynn

 

Nightworker Revival – Amanita Falls EP

Up until about a year ago every new band seemed to be some offshoot of post rock. The kids couldn't get enough of it. But it appears that the romance between unsigned bands and the post rock genre has dried up ever since everyone started getting a musical boner for shoegaze - again. Welcome to nu-gaze as it's now not known.

Midland based 5 piece Nightworker Revival are no exception to this trend. Sure, they might have a pretty shabby name but luckily enough their shoegaze efforts aren't so lackluster. New EP 'Amanita Falls' oozes with layered guitars, swirling drones and relentless rhythms so well mixed you want to take a bite out of them. It's a warm and bright five track recording where the vocals, akin to Spaceman 3, take a back seat in the mix, letting the music speak for itself.

Songs follow general shoegaze clichés but are delivered impressively. Opener 'Taking Rainbows from the Sky' (isn't this a post rock title? Come on guys, stick to the rules) is an swaggering number that crashes in with a propulsive bass line accompanied by wispy guitars and attitude ridden vocals. It could be Ride and is the best song on this EP. 'Floating in Mercury' marks a more soft, major key approach to the rest of the tracks as the music becomes more harmonious and alluring, almost like 'Belfast' by Orbital – The hypnotic delivery is exactly the same even if the genre isn't.

However, as beautiful and well produced as this EP is, it can feel all a little samey. Not just because it's rehashing the early 90s, but because there's little distinction between the songs. The band provides variation in the form of sitars and alike but they're still in danger of becoming a one trick pony which ultimately undermines their collective efforts and skills. Nonetheless, this promising EP is a great bit of shoegaze that'll please its respective fans. Worth investigating. 7/10
http://www.myspace.com/nightworkerrevival

Moker

 
 

The Wave Pictures - Sweetheart EP (Moshi Moshi)

I'm scared the Wave Pictures will give up writing songs soon. David Tattersall's voice isn't, and probably won't, get any less whiny than it is on 'Cinnamon Baby'. His crowdpleasing lengthy guitar solos are being featured prominently on record. The title track of this six-song EP and the closer, the Springsteen-influenced (they recorded a covers album, given away as a free CD-R, last year) 'American Boom', are balladic, the latter acoustic- and bass-led.

But this record is so much more immediately likeable than 'If You Leave it Alone', perhaps because it comes about as 'polished' or defined as the Wave Pictures are ever going to sound on record. 'American Boom' might be about the life of Howard Hughes, although it sounds a million times more personal, but it still manages to combine beautiful, no-longer-completely-abrasive indie pop with excellent wordplay, about being on "the cricket pitch, with cracked lips, in the middle of winter". It's got the fast-paced 'Kittens', a recording of old track 'I Shall Be A Ditchdigger' that could have found its home on any Wave Pictures release - and another ever-Wave-Pictures gem, 'Sweetheart': about the sweetest thing you'll hear this year.

I know the Wave Pictures will not give up writing songs, at least, not soon. XFM DJ John Kennedy once remarked to me that it seems the Wave Pictures are set against their own success. You could aptly describe the lyrics and the prolific small or non-label releases that seem not to care about 'major press attention' or 'Radio One plays', like, playing unreleased songs on radio sessions when they've just put out their most widely available and acclaimed album (2008's 'Instant Coffee Baby'), as idiosyncratic. It's also uncompromising, like the Fall, except non-Mancunian, for the way lyrics such as 'I Shall Be A Ditchdigger''s "Leroy I'll, Room 302, I'll be there and I'll be waiting for you" will be sung, easily, by fans unaware of their indecipherable meaning, who will decipher it themselves, or not, or embrace it, laugh, love the story.

They're also very British - Pitchfork's review of their first two full-lengths on Moshi Moshi seemed to pick up this as a flaw, an obstruction to achieving US-wide commercial acclaim. But it's David Tattersall's distinctive, Wymeswold-bred voice, their very guitar-led brand of indie pop, their English charm and their ballads and riddles, that have gained them a steadily growing UK audience. I asked bassist Franic Rozycki, and he didn't know who Good Shoes were. They're magnificent, sweet, intelligent and hilarious. And one of the very best things Britain has to offer right now.

Phil Coales

 
 

Feeder – Call Out (Big Teeth)

Feeder eh? They’ve been going for 15 years now and ‘Call Out’ is as good a song as I’ve heard from them. It’s still not as good as the Foo Fighters (the name even sounds like a Foo Fighters track) but if you close your eyes and listen well ‘Call Out’ sounds like a near perfect amalgamation of the Foo’s ‘All My Life’ and ‘The Pretender’. Now I’ve got sidetracked and listened to ‘The Pretender’ instead of ‘Call Out’ for a second try – that must say something. 6/10

SB

 
 

Grasscut – Door in the Wall (Ninja Tune)

Grasscut are one of the best and probably one of the most bonkers acts around at present. They must be if they get inspired travelling on Southern Trains to Brighton – it was just full of angry Millwall fans last time I was on the Gatwick Express.

‘Door in the Wall’ sees an extension on their previous offering ‘Muppet’ – it’s more analogue keyboards with a definite summer tinge in the Brian Wilson-esque harmonies. But it’s not simply a case of sunny days – there’s still that important off kilter blippery which sets them apart from fodder like MGMT. 7/10
www.myspace.com/grasscutmusic

SB

 
 

Everything Everything – Schoolin’ (Geffen)

Everything Everything continue to confound with just about (excuse the repetition) everything in this track. Choppy percussion, freak out Beatnik vocals and intermittent bleeps and tweaks. It’s a much harder listen than ‘My Keys, Your Boyfriend’, more angular, so it may alienate some of their previous fans but it does open the door to a slightly more interesting future other than a pop band with wonky beats. 6/10
www.myspace.com/everythingeverythinguk

SB

   
 

The Revellions – Sigh’s

‘Sigh’s’? As in belonging to Sigh? That doesn’t make sense to me and no amount of scouring of the press release offers up any plausible explanation of this grammatical error. So what does it sound like? It’s a very strange hybrid of parpy Hammond organ, 60’s psychedelia and some rock god excesses which while initially quite interesting; begin to grate on my nerves a bit towards the end. I blame the grammar for putting me in a bad mood to start with. 5/10
www.myspace.com/therevellions

SB

 
 

MiMi Soya – I Can’t Stand Popbands EP (LAB)

Brighton must be the new Leeds – (Except more coastal, and less south, and less provincial obviously) – every other band seems to be from there this month. MiMi Soya’s Tinkerbell style artwork gives little away in terms of sound – it turns out that opener ‘Millionaire’ sounds like a female fronted version of Rainbow’s ‘Since You Been Gone’ – bubblegum rock if such a thing exists. It’s painfully radio friendly right through with singer Jorja’s ‘whoa-oh’ opener to ‘I Told You So’ firmly casting the die – I’m really not liking this at all, it’s one step away from Eurovision. 3/10
www.myspace.com/mimisoya

SB

 
 

Ice Black Birds – As Birds We’ll Be Fine

Fuck me – another band from Brighton! Does nobody work down there? There’s a nice valvey guitar sound to this one along with some clever little fast riffs – it’s by no means a big hitting number, more of a softly spoken but strong in the long term piece. 7/10
www.myspace.com/iceblackbirdsuk

SB

 
 

Hello Lazarus – Ladies Love Liars

Love the band name, love the song title and love the track. Squawly grating guitars to throw us into the main course, a decent hook to the chorus and that continuous near (but not quite) discordant guitar row in the background. A little bit This Ain’t Vegas too and they are not from Brighton – these are all good things. 8/10
www.hellolazarus.com

SB

 
 

Kylie Minogue – All the Lovers (Parlophone)

I own a Kylie album and I am not gay. Fact. ‘Light Years’ was excellent and I’m not afraid to say I’ve been a little bit partial to a spot of Kylie ever since. I’m not sure that ‘All the Lovers’ will make it into a Kylie top ten – it’s just a little bit too formulaic and lacks that bit of dance floor cool which her best tracks have. But for dancing around your handbags in Yates’ it will prove more than serviceable. 6/10
www.kylie.com

SB

 
 

Jo Hamilton – Think of Me (Poseidon)

Uh-oh – this is a bit dull. Hamilton has a pleasant enough voice and has deployed a barrage (or whatever the collective for bells is) of bells but this is just so gentle and lulling that I drift off. But while my mind was not occupied with listening to the subtle nuances of the track it did allow me to digress and discover other interesting collective nouns such as ‘a nest of rumours’ and ‘a knot of toads’ – brilliant. 3/10
www.johamilton.com

SB

 
 

Cypress Hill feat. Pitbull and Marc Anthony – Armada Latina (Priority)

Well it’s no ‘Insane in the Brain’. A weirdly sickening Latin track with samples from Crosby, Stills and Nash and vocal contributions from Marc Anthony and Cuban rapper Pitbull. You may well ask what Cypress Hill actually did on the track then. Beats me but sounds suspiciously like it’s going to turn horribly into DJ Otzi’s ‘Hey Baby’ and that cannot be allowed to happen. 2/10
www.cypresshill.com

SB

 
 

Husky Rescue – They Are Coming (Catskills)

There’s something to be said for coming from a country where the sun doesn’t set for 2 months of year if you make music like this. A lovely little drum pattern, some simple guitar and whispered vocals. All accompanied by someone who whistles even worse than I do. ‘They Are Coming’ is a beautiful piece of song writing, completely innovative and forward looking. It has a simple grace about while still stirring great emotions of majesty and pomp. 8/10
www.husky-rescue.com

SB

 
 

Blasted Mechanism – Start to Move (Revolver)

From what I can see, the Portuguese artist troup/band known as Blasted Mechanism look a bit like a luminescent version of the alien being from the Predator films. This visual display plus their fusion of styles – middle eastern, reggae and dub – makes them perfect festival material and you will no doubt see them captivating crusties the world over in 2010. Part Dreadzone, part Ozric Tentacles, part Kula Shaker, there is something a bit derivative about the sound of this single on record, but I for one won’t begrudge them their 20 minutes of fame this summer. 7/10
www.myspace.com/blastedmechanism

SB

 
 

Twin Atlantic - Human After All

Twin Atlantic have been stirring things up quite nicely for a while now and ‘Human After All’ only builds on this previous success with a beauty of a mathy/emo crossover track. It’s not really one of those songs that you can dissect that much – it just all sounds so wonderfully balanced, like the band are getting everything out of each other and like they are damn well going to enjoy telling about it. 8/10
www.twinatlantic.com

SB

 
 

Harper Simon – Wishes and Stars (PIAS)

Simon by name, Simon by nature. Simon jnr shares father Paul’s taste in music judging by the sound of this single. It’s a joyful, floral summery piece with gentle lilting vocals and crisp acoustic guitar. Pass the flares. 6/10
www.harpersimon.com

SB

 
 

Black Circles – Little Girl

I say, this is a fizzling little rock n roll beast of a number. Scuzzy guitars and big anthemic choruses all perfectly punctuated by net cowbell percussion parts. Their Myspace friends (don’t just Google Black Circles – you’ll end up with a load of adverts for car tires) give you a good idea of the sound of this also – Mark Laneghan/Screaming Trees, QOTSA, Foos, You Me At Six etc. 7/10
www.myspace.com/blackcirclesband

SB

 

Autoportrait – Songs for the Quietness

This 3-track EP is actually the work of one individual – the multi-instrumentalist and producer Leila Zerai, and from the outset there’s a pleasing off-kilter discordant quality to the music. This is not going to be some bland 3track demo me thinks. The title tracks couples Zerai’s lilting yet not forced vocals with a chambers of reverb, legions of bells and a chorus of brass sounds. It’s very difficult to place but is certainly an enticing start to proceedings.

Some surprise then that ‘Awaken’ follows, and opens with an ostensibly more conservative approach. This soon builds into a nice bit of layered vocals a la Juana Molina but does perhaps leave Zerai’s vocals sounding a little modest, if still warm.

The CD closes with ‘Stinging’, at over seven minutes, somewhat of a production epic. There’s lots of phasing and echo effects which bounce off the gaunt keyboard parts of the intro in a haunting way and the introduction of some sawtooth (perhaps electric) cello builds on this even more. When the track is this beguiling there’s no real need for a traditional song structure – ‘Stinging’ just washes and ebbs through its duration, gently leaving us at its conclusion and reminding us that Autoportrait has produced an exceptionally good EP here. 8/10
www.myspace.com/leilamusic

SB

 
 

Straight Lines – Loose Change (Xtra Mile)

Straight Lines sound a lot better than they look (that being like the benefactors of a ram raid on a Fred Perry sportswear outlet). Contrary to the title, there’s nothing loose about ‘Loose Change’ – similar to their previous tracks, it’s tightly played and served up with conviction. The main guitar intro and bridge is quite glorious and vocalist Tom’s voice is compelling throughout. Another step on the road to success. 8/10
www.myspace.com/straightlines

SB

 
 

Missing Andy – The Way We’re Made (Echoboom)

A big attempt at jumping on the world cup bandwagon perhaps? Although the title is ‘The Way We’re Made’, the main tag line is ‘Made in England’ –perfect for singing along to quaffing Carling and watching our team of petty criminals and those of dubious moral judgement battle manfully to a draw against err, Algeria. But despite the slightly dodgy nationalist tendencies (and some prattling on about subsidising housing) wow – what a song this is. Definitely anthemic and delivered like an angry Mike Skinner. 8/10
www.missingandy.co.uk

SB

 
 

Super Adventure Club – Hip Hop Hot Pot Pot Noodle (Armellodie)

Jesus – this is noisy. I don’t think anyone could describe Super Adventure Club better than their own PR who go for ‘spazz-jazz ninjas’. With the heavily bass driven melodies there’s a touch of Mofo Party Plan era Chili Peppers or , more in part to the boy-girl vocals, the less well known Twinkie from Derby. It’s a little bit scary actually – are you ready for shittig your pants to music? I suspect that S.A.C. havea little bit too much talent and creative juice for their own good and need to properly harness it before they fully unleash it onto the listening masses. Ooh, that sounded a bit nasty. 7/10
www.myspace.com/superadventureclubmusic

SB

 
 

Sound of Guns – Architects (Distiller)

Wow – another unholy row to start off the song – all rattling jangling guitars which are eventually joined by walloping drumbeat and big shout along chorus ‘ We are the architects’. There’s nothing subtle here but it is an enjoyable blast of stadium pomp. 7/10
www.myspace.com/soundofguns

SB

 
 

Charlotte Gainsbourg – Live at Sunset Sound EP (Because)

So this is the live version of some of the tracks of Gainsbourg’s recent IRM album, produced by Beck Hansen. Other than sounding even more overtly Beck than the album tracks did, I can’t really feel that many great differences here. ‘Time of the Assassins’ is still a bleakly lovely song but there’s little to give the game away that this is live. All sounds pretty good though. 6/10
www.charlottegainsbourg.com

SB

 
 

Lost Idol – Lightwerk (Cookshop)

The production vehicle of Brighton based James Dean, Lost Idol straddle several different sounds here within one EP. The title track is very analogue synth and is apparently an homage to the early electro pioneers – it’s weebly tones cutting through a more pulsing bass line. It certainly sounds a bit derivative, and I don’t mean that in any derogatory way. But I would argue that it is about a minute too long.

The B-side ‘Beesmouth’ is a far more intriguing work to me. It initially oozes of the analogue cut and paste honey produced by Chicago’s Black Moth Super Rainbow before slickly encompassing a vastly more refined approach, more akin to Dextro. This is little short of an exceptional track.

The two accompanying remixes (one each of ‘Lightwerk’ and ‘Beesmouth’ each bring added value to this EP, being so completely distorted as to make them unrecognisable to the originals (I listened to the tracks about 10 times before reading the inlay and discovering they were just remixes.). This one is definitely worth spending a few quid on. 8/10
www.myspace.com/lostidol

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The Sleepless - Noise of Life

Ronan O'Hanlon (drums, lyrics) and Martin Carroll (guitars, vocals, music) make up ‘The Sleepless’ a new indie acoustic band based in London. This, their first EP, is a four track taste of what is to come from this new band.

‘The Sleepless’ exude a new mix of chilled out attainable music. The EP, which was mostly recorded in the band's house, has an organic sound. They say that the four songs are “about the dusty corners of life..” I can see that they represent the different styles the band have which is complemented by the roughness of the recordings, alternate tuned guitars and real drums that give the EP a very unique fresh sound compared to the polished finish of a lot of other modern groups.

Fitting nicely into the indie genre whilst still holding onto something a bit different ‘The Sleepless’ will hopefully be bringing their music to a radio near you soon! 7/10

Imogen Davies

 
 

Good Old War – Good Old War (Sargent House Records)

This is the second album by Pennsylvania trio Good Old War and despite the American accents so much of this record feels like it originates from our own small island, with obvious debts to be to The La’s, The Beatles and Teenage Fanclub. Crammed full of harmonies and jangly guitars, this album certainly feels suited to the scorching sun and the long days of summer. The mood throughout is generally upbeat and positive but also reflective. Similarly to The Beatles’ ‘Revolver’, ‘Good Old War’ also contains its own ‘Yellow Submarine’ in ‘Sneaky Louise’ which feels out of place and soon grates on the ears. Other tracks wander pleasantly along, seemingly enjoying their journey, without ever really successfully inviting the listener to join the trip. Whether this album will continue to grow over time remains to be seen. At the moment it appears to contain a small number of quality peaks but its report card must read “needs be more consistent.” 5/10

Mark Whiffin

 
 

Esteban – Jump Ship

‘Jump Ship’ is one of those ruthlessly efficient and compact indie pop songs that it’s almost impossible to fault. There’s all the ingredients in here for a success – pretty little guitar line, soulful backing vocals, crisp drumming – all in all it’s very effective. So why is it that I’m left feeling a little unmoved by it? I’m not really sure – maybe it’s so flawless and perfectly formed that it lacks a little rough diamond appeal. Or maybe I’m just in a bad mood – so don’t take my word for it – explore yourself. 6/10
www.estebanmusic.co.uk

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Black Daniel – Ivy (Dustbowl)

Although purporting to relate to The Kinks and The Beach Boys, there is definitely more of a Manchester vibe coursing through the veins of’ Ivy’. Big production on the guitars and stomping rhythm brings Kasabian to mind but to me ‘Ivy’ is far more appealing than any of that Kasabian stuff. There’s a charming weirded-out Death in Vegas lilt to some of the samples and effects that make this more than a dull stadium stompalong. 7/10
http://www.myspace.com/blackdanielspace

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Bonobo – Stay the Same (Ninja Tune)

Another lovely track here from Si Green aka Bonobo and this time accompanied on vocal duties by broken voiced Andreya Triana. It’s a rare skill to be able to use saxophone in a track and not to end up sounding like Kenny G but ‘Stay the Same’ pulls this off wonderfully, floating over the wavering string parts and Triana’s vulnerable vocal. AT the jazz end of trip-hop but definitely still in that camp, this could be the perfect chill out tune for the end of your summer barbecue. 8/10
www.myspace.com/sibonobo

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The Grave Architects – The Bike Song

Another blow here for the cycling lobby in the form of ‘The Bike Song’, The Grave Architects’ ode to cycling. Easy to dismiss for its comedy value (especially if you watch the video) but it’s a nifty little tune in its own right with plenty of changes of tempo and style. I would even go as far to say that the ‘I Love My Bike’ part absolutely rocks out (in a slightly nerdish way which suits me). Well worth checking out the video on the bands website to see the bemused faces on some of the participants at an organised bike rally as our heroes spill out their lines on the side road (even the guy dressed up as a pirate looks a bit concerned). Part Flight of the Conchords, part Beastie Boys, 100% enjoyable. 8/10
http://www.thegravearchitects.co.uk

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Elan Lea – My Only Excuse (Universal)

The kind of metrosexual radio friendly pop that has been spawned a thousand fold across the world by Cowell and his cronies. Lea may be a sex symbol in his South African homeland but he’s a pariah here at Tasty HQ. 2/10
www.elanlea.com

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The Parlotones – Push Me To the Floor

Bit spooky – never had any submissions from South Africa in over 8 years then two right next to each other? Some people might almost think that there is some kind of commercial profiteering from the world cup spotlight on the country being exploited here? As it goes, the Parlotones aren’t bad – it’s kind of Muse-y, Manic-y, Keane-y stuff – big anthemic tunes perfect for, say, an opening or closing ceremony at a major sport event. 6/10
http://www.myspace.com/theparlotones

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The Volitains – Underground

This is a really beauty of a track that leaves you feeling that The Volitains may be just a little unhinged and quite comfortable with that fact. Big scratchy guitars and more than a dash of Siousxie Sioux in vocalist Candice Avery’s delivery, ‘Underground’ is an uncomfortably writing beast that defies any traditional song structure and dumps you at the end feeling like you’ve been tampered with by a sexy auntie at a family party. ‘This is Love’ is also excellent, sitting in a more traditional bluesey setting but given a good hard roughing up by the Volitains distorted sound. Watch close amigos. 9/10
www.myspace.com/thevolitains

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Kinn – Kinn EP

You are joking right? This metal is almost as polished and airbrushed as the cover art which sees our perpetrators given the 90210 treatment. There’s no denying some very neat guitar work but it’s all such pretty stuff – you can’t imagine teenage girls going for this sound nor grizzled G’n’R fans going for the look. That leaves Kinn looking just a bit odd (though undeniably handsome and well-groomed). 4/10
www.myspace.com/kinn

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Golden Hours – Pioneering/Wash The Night Eyes (Broken Tail/Josaka)

Hello? This all sounds a bit up-beat and commercial for the normally steadfastly non-commercial Broken Tail records. Maybe they finally thought they might have to sell something to fund their excellent work in unearthing some of the best obscure music in England. Further research concludes that Golden Hours are the re-branded version of The Wookies, a band previously lauded on these very pages. And indeed ‘Pioneering’
is another undeniable success – all urgent and yet perfectly crafted at the same time with an angular indie edge. By comparison ‘Wash the Night Eyes’ is far more expansive and shoe-gazey at the outset. But it also ramps up nicely to provide us with another delicious slice of angular wig-outs, choppy changes and unforgettable brilliance. 9/10
www.myspace.com/brokentailrecords

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