'Songs Without Shoes'
'Essex County Line'
'Arcs Across The City'
'Hot Air Balloon'
'Back And Forth'
'Rule The World'
'You Are My Girl'
'Tick Tick Boom'
Singles and EPs : Singles Bar
Singles and EPs : Singles Bar
3 Daft Monkeys / Go Tell The Bees **** / *****
Listening to this EP designed to promote forthcoming album 'Social Vertigo' to be released early 2008, i'm reminded of several bands, but none exactly. Instantly they recall to mind peak-era Levellers, although with a slightly less beating a listener over the head type of sound. They share certain sounds and moods with New Model Army. They demonstrate folk influences from all over the UK but also weave in other less obvious influences too. They've got a really natural sound here, which is instantly pleasing to the ear. Fabulous fiddle and striking melodies are a highlight of perhaps the best track, 'Paranoid Big Brother'. In actual fact, all four songs are extremely strong and the EP ends with a remastered version of a song 'Astral Eyes' from the bands debut LP, ' Hubbadillia'. Try saying that with your mouth full. The song in question though is great and should appeal to fans of intelligent rock music with a folky twist. ( reviewed 22.09.2007 )
50 Cent / Amusement Park ** / *****
As is the way with hip-hop singles, don't expect anything worthwhile as b-sides. Here, we merely have the 'dirty' version, the 'clean' version and an instrumental of the same song. Well, download either the clean or dirty version, I suppose, whichever is your preference. I can't exactly say this is one of the finest moments in rap/hip hop, even in recent years. Firmly commercial and unchallenging, the vocal is melodic and the beats are formulaic and safe. Nothing offensively bad here, this isn't particularly cheesy or moronic, just fairly mediocre and forgettable. ( reviewed 8.09.2007 )
Babyshambles / Delivery *** / *****
As a single to kick off the promotion of the new Babyshambles album, 'Delivery' is somewhat disappointing. 'The Blinding' EP had been tremendous, yet 'Delivery' falls somewhat short of the best tunes on the EP. Stephen Street produces and does seem to manage to streamline and hold together the wayward Pete Doherty somewhat better than Mick Jones of The Clash managed, however. So, a two minute, forty one second tune. Opens with ringing guitar before the bass and drums clatter in. Pete's vocal sounds strong and focused, easily the best thing about the tune along with an admittedly strong chorus. Hopefully not the best song on the forthcoming album, but we shall have to wait and see. ( reviewed 8.09.2007 )
Bob Dylan / Mark Ronson Remix : Most Likely You Go Your Way... ** / *****
Dylan fans will likely be up in arms that the idiot that is Mark Ronson gets to be the one remixing Dylan, the first officially endorsed remix and one going to be on the new hits album, too. What's a standard remixers trick then? Well, remove the music completely and create your own instead, perhaps using one or two of the original sounds. Thus, the harmonica track survives in brief, the main melody is stuck in the tune somewhere, but Mark Ronson hasn't so much re-mixed this in the traditional sense as merely stuck his own music onto the Dylan vocal. Yeah, the melody survives, but with horns and a shuffling little dance beat. The best thing about this remains the Dylan vocal, put down intact, thankfully. Why did Dylan approve this? Well, he's always had a sense of humour, hasn't he? ( reviewed 8.09.2007 )
Claire Toomey / Found *** / *****
Claire Toomey sings 'Found', inspired by finding the strength to pick yourself up and carry on. On this limited edition promo, she invites people to visit her on www.clairetoomey.com and spread the word. She's got a strong voice that will sparkle with better production. The song itself is very good indeed, I just wanted the middle section a little louder and the guitars especially a little louder. That's not her fault though and I especially like the tone of some of the guitars. The words are great and her voice is extremely addictive to listen to. Hat's off to Claire Toomey! Let's hope she's turns out some more quality material soon. ( reviewed 17.11.2007 )
Device / Essex County Line *** / *****
London band Device released an album on the Espionage label in New York, received some college airplay, appeared on Radio shows and ran out of money. They now find themselves backing Shakin' Stevens on a recording session and releasing their debut UK single on the unknown Fashion Ferry label. Safe to say, they don't sound like Shakin' Stevens. This is American College Rock, no surprises there. The band are able to create accomplished songs that sound like they've been thought about. Strangely, I personally far more enjoy the third song on the single, 'Angel Of The South' than I do the lead track, 'Essex County Line' which is rather so-so when compared to other bands of their ilk. 'Angels Of The South' is a fine pop/rock song though and the other song here, 'Sirens' demonstrates a way with funky bass lines and UK indie rock. So, Device may not quite be there yet, still needing to hone their own sound, but they sure show promise here. ( reviewed 22.09.2007 )
Vince Freeman / Songs Without Shoes **** / *****
Vince Freeman is another in a long-line of acoustic singer-songwriters. It's difficult to stand out in such a crowd, but this six track EP goes some way to at least demonstrating the mans talents. Although soley acoustic, the songs vary in feel and texture. The lyrics are consistently strong and the tunes not bad either. 'Turn Around Grace' reveals a strong, gritty singing voice. It's easy to imagine 'Whispers (Amy)' coming out of daytime radio, a decent tune and well constructed, as well. 'You Are' is a further highlight of 'Songs Without Shoes', a great calling-card for Vince Freeman, if you ask me. ( reviewed 17.11.2007 )
Johnny Foreigner / Arcs Across The City ***** / *****
Feedback then almighty clattering of guitars and drums and seesaw buzzing guitars. Speedy delivery of vocals, female backing vocals. The opening track here 'Champagne Girls I Have Known' is the kind of thing that would pop up unexpectedly on John Peel in the wee hours of the night and delight you. The 2nd track on this nice six track EP is called 'The End And Everything After' and very nearly matches the quality of the first tune. Excellent drum work to propel this forwards, together with the guitars. More impressive things here include 'You Talk Too Fast', quite possible after listening to this band. All in all, this new outfit have to ones to watch. They don't appear to be too mainstream, but hopefully people won't close their ears to something like this that's ever so slightly different and fresh. Highly recommended stuff. ( reviewed 27.10.2007 )
Kat Vipers / Hot Air Balloon **** / *****
Kat Vipers is deeply strange, but that pleases me in these days of nobody being strange at all. She's kind of a cross between Polly Harvey, a musical and Nine Inch Nails. Except it's all her and a piano. Except when a trumpet and a kids choir appears. 'Wasting Time' is a Babes In Toyland music hall opera, strange as that may sound. No guitars, by the way. None at all. Listening to 'Just Like Jerry-Lee' I felt momentarily sorry for Kat Vipers in that the latest PJ Harvey album appears to have entirely stolen her sound. Across five songs though she proves she's an eccentric to watch. There's so many great artists buried out there on myspace, amongst the crapola, but Kat is definitely someone I want to hear more from. 'Get A New Dog Blues' seems to suggest a twisted Tom Waits influence, too. Fine by me.
( reviewed 17.11.2007 )
Leona Lewis / Bleeding Love **** / *****
Everyone told Simon Cowel not to mess this up like he has done every other X-Factor winner. So, we want proper production, we want to hear her voice and we want a decent, original composition. Has he and Leona delivered? Mostly, yes. Her voice shines in place, she still looks utterly gorgeous and the song is properly produced. It will predictably be huge in the UK, but will it do the trick and launch her in the much needed American market? Only time will tell. It's actually a slow builder of a song, a few listens and the rather clever chorus will have wedged itself in your brain. A good taster for the album, I think. Well done! ( reviewed 27.10.2007 )
Lyla Foy / Back And Forth ***** / *****
The attractive Lyla Foy announces herself with brushed drums, double bass and keyboards for a jaunty, well lit trip around a relationship. Her voice instantly sounds like a softer, more cooing version of Lily Allen. That's a comparison it's hard to ignore, although the music itself is very different to Lily. Actually, I really love this. 'Back And Forth' is a really happy song and it takes a lot to make me smile. 'Let's all grow old disgracefully' she sings on 'Silly Me' and the closing acoustic guitar led 'Great Unknown' shows a heartbreakingly more serious side. A wonderful three songs, visit lylafoy for further details. ( reviewed 17.11.2007 )
Mesh-29 / Over The Barricade *** / *****
According to the publicity, only the 2nd unsigned band ever to chart within the UK, a number 35 hit for 'Over The Barricade'. They've since formed their own label, they've released a debut album 'Dead Machine', have been featured in the N.M.E and gig regularly. 'Over The Barricade' is a big production with strings and heavy drums alongside acoustic and electric guitars. Theirs is an impassioned sound with vocals vaguely resembling a younger brother of Ocean Color Scene. That's not necessarily a bad thing, by the way. The supporting tracks on the cd-single are 'Questions' and 'Cigarette'. 'Questions' is serious, acoustic led and most impressive. 'Cigarette' is another ambitious arrangement, although not just a continuation of 'Over The Barricade'. The guitars are joined here by piano and a nice, melodic bass line to pin everything together. All in all, an impressive release even though none of the three tracks would qualify as classics. They are still a young band though and show much promise across these songs.
( reviewed 8.09.2007 )
Take That / Rule The World *** / *****
Gary Barlow and friends return with a song for the 'Stardust' soundtrack. Fairly safe to assume this will go straight in at either number one or two in the UK charts. What it doesn't do is surprise but it does continue rather nicely the bands recent comeback. A decent chorus is enough in this case to overlook other shortcomings the song might contain. It's a song full of make-believe and enough to make fans of the group believe in magic all over again. For me, decent enough but it's no 'Patience' or 'Back For Good'.
( reviewed 27.10.2007 )
Teedo / You Are My Girl *** / *****
The multi-national line-up of Teedo create an interesting sound. Lead track 'You Are My Girl' has a rhythm firmly in the glam-rock scene, determindly old fashioned sounding keyboards, vocals low in the mix and also a vague indie feel. It's good though, not shouting from the rooftops, but the melodies ( there's more than 1! ) get to you in the end. Impressive stuff. Of the supporting tracks, 'King Of The World' impressives enough, with quirky, drawn out vocals and brief bursts of glam guitar amid a dreamy atmosphere. ( reviewed 17.11.2007 )
The Kut / The Vision **** / *****
Visit thekut.co.uk for further information. This four piece all girl band ( although certainly not 'girl-group' ) hail from New Cross and have forged an interesting sound for themselves. Lead track 'The Vision' is a combination of dubby bass lines, scorching rock guitar and drowned, striking and mournful vocals. 'The Vision' is a very strong track indeed, full of dramatic atmosphere. It's joined on this EP by two further tracks, 'Brother' and 'Don't Want You' that bode well for a full album release. One critiscm I have is that the style of music they are making really demands better production values where the bass and vocals in particular can really shine through. Having said that, 'Brother' is a slinky, low-key affair and 'Don't Want You' a dubby, goth-rock Lily Allen, if such a thing is imaginable. ( reviewed 8.09.2007 )
The Hives / Tick Tick Boom **** / *****
The Hives return after several years absence with a splendid noise. Thankfully, they haven't changed very much although perhaps the production and mixing has beefed up their sound a little for a possible assault on the American markets? Moving away from indie-rock towards ROCK with a captial RRRR. We've heard rumours of their forthcoming album being a collaboration with Timbaland, but then again, we always hear rumours about The Hives. They are good at creating a buzz about themselves. On the one hand, 'Tick Tick Boom' is fairly standard fare from The Hives, on the other, nobody else sounds quite as fun as The Hives do, because everybody else ( sweeping generalisations here... ) takes themselves far too seriously. ( reviewed 22.09.2007 )
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