'Songs Remind Me Of You'
'What About Now'
'Bye Bye Bayou'
'Splitting The Atom'
'Sink Or Swim'
'Blind As Faith'
'Return To Addis'
'When Harry Met Charlie'
'Call Of Spring'
'Stealing Is Flattery'
'I'm Not Alone'
'In For The Kill'
'Last Of The English Roses'
'We Are Us'
'Cities Burning Down'
'Catherine The Waitress'
'Kiss With A Fist'
'Get On Your Boots'
'Calling All Killers'
'Stronger Than Jesus'
'Prospekts March EP'
'Famous For Being Famous'
'Dog Days Are Over'
'DJs Get Doubts'
Singles and EPs : Singles Bar
Singles and EPs : Singles Bar
November 2009LCD Soundsystem / Bye Bye Bayou *** / *****
LCS Soundsystem return with a single to preview their third album. The song last in excess of five minutes and has a cool, 80s electro beat metronmically running throughout. We've got soft, whispered and faintly spooky vocals. It's an addictive track, even though it does absolutely nothing and contains no real hooks to speak of in old fashioned single terms. Still, who cares about singles anymore when you're an albums artist like LCD Soundsystem? Well, I say they SHOULD care. LCD have made some cracking songs in the past and deserve to have a crack at the top ten, even only to annoy radio stations.( reviewed 22.11.2009 )
Westlife / What About Now ** / *****
Westlife's much vaunted new 'man-band' direction is really very similar to their old direction. A power-ballad this time out, clearly apeing recent Take That activity, complete with guitars, bass and drums, etc. I've got an idea, why doesn't Gary Barlow just write everybodies songs for a year? It might put some strain on him, but it would avoid anybody having to listen to such utterly forgettable material as this. ( reviewed 22.11.2009 )
Annie / Songs Remind Me Of You ** / *****
Everybody loves the early eighties don't they? Except me. Well, nah, I do too but somebody should tell Annie, Little Boots and whoever else wants to be Allison Moyet this week that it's now 2009. Being fare, 'Songs Remind Me Of You' is really enjoyably primitive in its use of old fashioned synth sounds. Such a shame then that the song has a weak chorus and that Annie's oh so soft and whispery vocals are just really annoying. Ho, hum.( reviewed 22.11.2009 )
Fuck Buttons / Surf Solar ** / *****
The much hyped Fuck Buttons return to sell no more records than they did last time out, but thirty-something Guardian readers believing themselves to be subversive when really they are about as subversive and less alternative than Mick Hucknall of Simply Red will buy this all the same. The song last three to four minutes, has no tune and no interesting sounds. An utter waste of space and supposed talent.( reviewed 22.11.2009 )
October 2009Robbie Williams / Bodies ** / *****
Robbie returns after the much maligned (rightly so) 'Rudebox' and after huge success by
his former band-mates Take That. You'd think with so much riding on 'Bodies' that it would leap out of the speakers complete with trademark shouting Robbie vocal. Been around a bit Trevor Horn produces and makes sure everything is hugely polished, production wise, yet that's exactly the problem. Robbie fared better when things were a little rough and ready and his music was base rock/pop. Trying to introduce sophistication to Robbie Williams is about as useful as trying to introduce Mortgage Protection to a chipanzee. As such, 'Bodies' can hardly be described as a succesful comeback for 'the robster'.( reviewed 18.10.2009 )
Alexandra Burke / Bad Boys *** / *****
As last years X-Factor winner there's suitably large amounts of pressure on Alexandra Burke to pull off the same sort of world-wide sales that Leona Lewis has enjoyed. To aid this, she's roped in Flo Rida and all sorts of big name writers and producers. The result is fairly predictable fare, surprisingly uptempo when we maybe expected a ballad and not uncatchy, yet there's so many would be female diva's for her to compete with that perhaps something with a little more originality would have been better to launch at America - crucial to the recouping of massive Simon Cowell investment. At least Leona had a single slightly striking with 'Bleeding Love'. 'Bad Boys' however could have been sung by almost anybody with the aid of self-same top producers and use of auto-tune in the studio. ( reviewed 18.10.2009 )
Massive Attack / Splitting The Atom **** / *****
The 'Splitting The Atom' EP has been released to preview the long-awaited 5th Massive Attack LP. Moody, mid-tempo and atmospheric, the lead track is something of a return to form after the disappointing '100th Window'. News that Cocteau Twins Elizabeth Fraser is set to contribute to a track for the 5th LP is exciting. Well, she's virtually retired these days. Anyway, 'Splitting The Atom' isn't friendly or catchy or able to chart - but it is extremely well produced. Twenty two minutes of music are contained on this EP, fairly healthy, you might say. Well, 'Pray For Rain' is almost as good as the near title track and 'Psyche' is three minutes of melody that ties things up nicely. ( reviewed 18.10.2009 )
Delphic / Counterpoint **** / *****
Delphic are a band from Manchester, signed to Polydor Records. An album is expected early 2010 and judging by 'Counterpoint' mixing Orbital with New Order and grasping a firm sense of pop alongside bang upto date twiddly dance bits have a lot of potential. 'Counterpoint' also reminds me of Mansun and Placebo. Yeah, 'Delphic' have the sound to appeal to a wide range of music lovers and as such, if they can keep up a high standard could be absolutely huge. The fact they're from Manchester seems utterly fitting, it's about time Manchester produced something as modern as this again. ( reviewed 18.10.2009 )
Ali Campbell / Everyways *** / *****
Ali will likely soon realise that splitting from UB40 was a mistake. Well, 'Everyways' sounds more like UB40 than UB40 do these days, which might explain something, I guess. Yeah, this is plesant fare with a lolling reggae beat yet plays it all far too safe to win over lapsed UB40 fans who deserted the group sometime during the 90s, fed up of endless cover versions. Ali needs to try harder than this to launch himself successfully as a solo artist. ( reviewed 18.10.2009 )
Bad Lieutenant / Sink Or Swim **** / *****
Bernard Sumner without New Order and without the guts to go it alone solo. What's the point in Bernard launching a new band. I mean, really? Still, that's just me being picky and churlish. In actual fact, 'Sink Or Swim' is quite superb indie-pop of the kind of rare calibre it's hard to find these days. Bad Lieutenant don't pack much of a punch in the rhythm section department and also don't really go for either New Order or Electronic's dance/techno experiments. Nope, this is guitar pop but none the worse for being that, of course. Verdict? A hit! ( reviewed 18.10.2009 )
Odette / Just Listen * / *****
Released on September 21st, Just Listen is the debut single from Rome born Odette. Rather than Italian passion we're left with sub-american rock that's clearly meant to be vaguely alternative but in reality is about as interesting as watching QVC. Oh, the chorus is fairly strong, shame about the verses. The bass plods away and why can't bands these days actually write interesting bass lines, that's what I want to know. The drummer may as well not be here and the guitars do nothing at all exciting. Her vocal is the best part of the tune but it's not enough to save 'Just Listen'. ( reviewed 18.10.2009 )
Sarah Grace / Come Fly ** / *****
slicethepie.com is a website where you can invest in new and upcoming artists. Sarah Grace won an award and was given £15,000 to make an album. Her funding was won by public vote so this is true democracy at work within the music industry, bypassing the often maligned 'the man'. The result? Well, something so utterly average and so one hundred percent radio two that I really do wonder about the general public at times. Acoustic guitars mix with nice drums, a slight rocky feel and a strong vocal. It leaves you feeling empty inside by the time it's finished playing though, which can't be a good thing. ( reviewed 18.10.2009 )
August 2009Dizzee Rascal / Holiday *** / *****
Dizzee has gone supernova here in the UK to become our biggest seller singles artist so far during 2009. That he's largely forgone his drum/n/bass/n/grime roots to do this will inevitably garner cries of sell-out, yet with three number one singles to his name now, i'm not sure he'll really care. So, following collaborations with Calvin Harris and Armand Van Helden, 'Holiday' is another dancey/summery piece of pop music. It's catchy, the rapping is Dizzee's usual rapping around a couple of notes very quickly, yet 'Holiday' is superbly produced dance music and Dizzee has become a megastar doing these kind of collaborations with top UK dance talent. 'Live, Large N In Charge' on the b-side is traditional Dizzee fare on one level but on another has a surfeit of ideas layers of beats.
( reviewed 06.09.2009 )
Pearl Jam / The Fixer **** / *****
Pearl Jam may have faded from view here in the UK, yet they're still going strong in their homeland and 'The Fixer' is the first single from their forthcoming ninth studio LP 'Backspacer'. I've got a soft spot for Pearl Jam although they're not really the type of band i'm supposed to like, or at least, used to be supposed to like back in my indie-cool days. Suffice to say, I don't care about that type of stuff anymore. 'The Fixer' in many respects is merely typical Pearl Jam, complete with numerous catchy riffs and a radio friendly chorus. Actually, it's the most commercial sounding tune they've released as a single for awhile and deserves to do very well everywhere, not just in the USA.( reviewed 06.09.2009 )
Sugababes / Get Sexy ** / *****
A strange band are the Subababes. This British three-piece female pop act now featuring now one original member have been through various styles and production outfits and survived some eleven years now on apparently very little talent. Still, the brand lives on and their latest has been produced by US crew The Smeezingtons. Interpolating a section from Right Said Fred's 'I'm Too Sexy' to form the main hook in the chorus, this is nothing more than typical Friday and Saturday night club fare for the drunken and drugged up. I'm not even impressed by the production of The Smeezingtons who seem to think trance music is still cool. Expect them to work with Madonna any time now, then....( reviewed 06.09.2009 )
Team Water Polo / Letting Go ** / *****
Not a good choice of band name is it? Google and Wikipedia end up producing hundreds of results about Water Polo rather than draw attention to this electro rock outfit from Preston. For the record, NME named 'Letting Go' one of their singles of the week and fair play to Team Water Polo, they know how to write hooks. I'm concerned the vocals are pretty weak though and that there simply isn't enough innovation here for Team Water Polo to take the new electro revival and really do something interesting with it. All in all, a solid single but I wouldn't imagine we'll still be dancing to Team Water Polo four years down the line. ( reviewed 06.09.2009 )
Alfonzo / Blind As Faith **** / *****
"Imagine what Ocean Colour Scene would sound like without the boredom and tedious britpop choruses" I wrote, on these very pages in 2008, concerning a previous single by Alfonzo. Well, 2009 model Alfonzo is just as engaging and this rock band from Edinburgh still deserve to be huge. They have tight playing, Seventies style rock stylings and even rock instrumentals for b-sides. For the record, 'Blind As Faith' is just as good as the new Pearl Jam single and flip-side 'What's Happening' acheives a rare feat in making an indulgent hairy rock instrumental with loads of solos in sound very exciting indeed - top dog. ( reviewed 06.09.2009 )
Dub Colossus / Return To Addis **** / *****
Composer, guitarist, bass player and programmer Nick Page has been around the scene, working with notables such as Steel Pulse and Trans Global Underground. Arriving in Ethiopia with 'no money and no jacket' he became inspired and the rest is history. Well, the rest is last years acclaimed 'A Town Called Addis' album. 'Return To Addis' contains two remixes and two previously unreleased tracks and all in all, it's one of the finest EP releses of 2009. Dub Colossus are something of a collective, in case you were wondering and some fine playing from the ensemble musicians enriches these recordings no end. 'Negus Dub' is the highlight, a spooky slice of King Tubby style mannoverings. ( reviewed 09.08.2009 )
Findley Napier / When Harry Met Charlie ** / *****
Findlay Napier launched his debut LP at the Cambridge Festival, 2008. Two tracks here including a remix of a track taken from said debut album. Findlay Napier and the Bar Room Mountaineers do have a reputation on the live scene and 'When Harry Met Charlie' is a pleasing, upbeat tune with a gentle rhythm and clear instrumentation. The remix of 'Out All Night' doesn't work for me, it barely resembles the sound of the lead track at all and when the vocals disappear in echo whilst fairly uninteresting beats take centre stage instead becomes deeply irritating. ( reviewed 09.08.2009 )
The Ivy York / Call Of Spring **** / *****
Now, this is weirdly delicate, precious and lovely! Music that seems to have been beamed in from the 1961 pop scene. Weird and high yet perfectly pitched vocals with beautiful phrasing and a country twang. Well, that's the title track at least and the other four songs aren't too bad either, although this isn't the kind of music that grabs you straight away. With the demise of John Peel, stuff like this has a hard time getting attention these days, which is a shame. 'The More I Have', the 2nd song here is jaunty and reminds this listener of Laura Cantrell. The closing 'Cowboy' slows things down and the voice, this voice! Well, 'The Ivy York' are the hit of the summer in our house, at least.
( reviewed 09.08.2009 )
Krazy 88 / Stealing Is Flattery ** / *****
Krazy 88 probably really like Green Day. They also probably really badly want to write music for US teen movies, you know the type. Well, 'Lipgloss Lovegloss', the flip-side? The title tells you all you need to know although I will say the song begins with a 'do bee do do, do, do, do' horrifically cheerful vocal line. 'Stealing Is Flattery' sounds like Red Hot Chili Peppers recorded by the judges of American Idol. They sound a bit like McFly, all in all and if that's something you like, watch out for their debut LP, worringly titled 'Diary Of A Teenage Heartthrob’ in a vacant record store near you.( reviewed 09.08.2009 )
JLS / Beat Again *** / *****
Louis Walsh, X-Factor judge and manager of Boyzone/Westlife type bands now has JLS, thanks to their appearance on X-Factor a year or two back. They've taken their time coming out with their debut single 'Beat Again' and in the British charts it's been an instant success. The constant improvements and cost reductions in studio technology, computers etc now means British acts can sound exactly like American ones, even without a massive budget. JLS probably do have a decent budget actually, yet the fact that 'Beat Again' sounds like typical MTV/Radio One daytime fare can't be ignored. Yes, it's well performed and produced and is probably far better than I expected it to be.
( reviewed 09.08.2009 )
May 2009Detroit Social Club / Sunshine People ** / *****
Newcastle's 'Detroit Social Club' release their second single and what a great big lumbering cripple it is. Well, huge drums boom away, bass turned upto 11 manages to avoid anything resembling a tune and then two-thirds of the way through the best bit arrives, a guitar solo. The vocals are chanted rather than sung and it's all a little disappointing to my ears. Flip side 'Cause And Consequence' is very much in the same vein, again with the booming drums and lack of melody. Let's just hope they've got better tunes tucked away before they decide to release an album, hey? ( reviewed 18.05.2009 )
Lightning Seeds / Ghosts **** / *****
It's been a long while since Ian Broudie and his Lightning seeds last troubled the hit parade - 'Life's Too Short' reaching number twenty-seven back in November, 1999. Well, his last album 'Tilt' wasn't very well received by the public and it was then into obscurity for Ian Broudie and his subsequent solo career. Why he's ressurected Lightning Seeds is open for debate, yet 'Ghosts' is strong enough to deserve being a Lightning Seeds single. Ian's voice has disappeared somewhat over the years, but this is still very nice, poppy and happy stuff. ( reviewed 18.05.2009 )
Paulo Nutini / Candy *** / *****
Very 70s soft rock is this, kind of like The Eagles. Naturally, it's hard to get very excited by yet another singer/songwriter/strummer, yet this is certainly a step forward in terms of class at least from the utterly forgettable stuff Paulo was doing a few years back. At least Paulo is still only twenty-two so has plenty of years ahead of him to find his true heart and soul. For now, this will do nicely. ( reviewed 18.05.2009 )
Dizzee Rascal / Bonkers ** / *****
Many have speculated that Dizzee Rascal has either sold out or gone, well, 'Bonkers'. His invasion of the dance floors continues here with the help of techno bod Armand Van Helden. We all know Dizzee had to change and/or progress. His new stuff though isn't progress, it's a massive shift sideways to the point where it's hard to know who actually is really behind this single - Dizzee or the odious Armand Van Helden. Enough to give you a headache this tune and it needs to stay on the dancefloors and away from radios as far as i'm concerned. ( reviewed 18.05.2009 )
Simple Minds / Rockets **** / *****
It would be hilarious if 'Rockets' ended up charting higher than the recent U2 single 'Magnificent', wouldn't it? I mean, Simple Minds went through a hellish 90s and an even worse 00s only to come out the other end with one of their finest singles for what seems like a century. Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill are still here, joined by Eddie Duffy and Mel Gaynor. This new rhythm section are melodic and powerful and 'Rockets' is something of an earworm, almost impossible to get our of your head. It doesn't probably amount to anything important in the 21st century, yet lapsed Simple Minds fans would do well to check this out. ( reviewed 18.05.2009 )
April 2009Calvin Harris / I'm Not Alone ** / *****
Calvin 'Acceptable In The 80s' Harris returns sounding like any old boring dance/trance guy. At least now he's reached a level of mediocrity which is better than his weird 80s disco act he was churning out. 'I'm Not Alone' predictably arrives to us backed with several pointless remixes which at least manage to inject some excitement into a rather lack-lustre number one UK hit. Do people even have ears these days? ( reviewed 30.04.2009 )
Flo Rida / Right Round * / *****
Dr And The Medics return in the guise of a Flo Rida cover version to all intents and purposes. A rap version of Dr And The Medics for gods sake! Absolutely awful of course and it's a typical trick to borrow wholesale somebody else's 'hook' and weave your own music track and deeply average rapping around it. With all the 80s nostalgia around at the moment though, this predictably will be a massive hit. ( reviewed 30.04.2009 )
Gallows / The Vulture *** / *****
Gallows are receiving a decent amount of press for tackling the credit crunch and the mess of modern day Britain head on with their second album, 'Grey Britain'. 'The Vulture' is British hardcore with typically thrashing guitars and typically slightly growled vocals. Needs better production and more money spent on it really, but as far as these kind of things go, at least we have a hardcore band now in the shape of Gallows not to be embarassed about. ( reviewed 30.04.2009 )
I Am Immune / Entropy *** / *****
A blend of electro-rock, indie and prog with a modern sound? Hailing from Southampton of all places, Tim Clark and Pete Boyd are I am Immune and typical of this kind of stuff when produced by a UK act, create far too weedy a sound to really stand-out in the industrial rock arena. This EP is actually fairly decent but we really did need better drums and bass sounds - a thicker edge to the recordings. It's a shame really, as the likes of 'Entropy' itself and 'Home' are actually pretty decent compositions with good ideas and arrangements. 'Home' reminds this listener of a cross between The Cure and Depeche Mode with added goth-industrialism for good measure. More of this, please. ( reviewed 30.04.2009 )
Little Boots / Mathematics ** / *****
Little Boots and 'Mathematics' sounds like it should be our Eurovision entry. Sounding like such a thing is both a good and a bad thing. It would be great to have something modern and contemporary like this representing the UK, yet there remains an undeniable whiff of cheesiness about the cheap synth and machines with weak echoed vocals sound of 'Little Boots'. Third song 'Love Kills' sounds like Saint Etienne auditioning new material with the express intention of getting dropped by their record label. Not enough distinctiveness here, basically. ( reviewed 30.04.2009 )
March 2009Karima Francis / Again *** / *****
Hi artists out there in music land. If you can provide me with a memorable jangly guitar intro and repeating jangle-guitar melodic pattern throughout your single, you'll almost inevitably find yourselves featured on this page at some stage. Karima does that guitar jangle then I love so well and also has a surprisingly strong rock/country voice that could take her a long way if she can continue to produce material quite so pleasing as 'Again' proves to be. The flip-side is a piece called 'Pardon Me' and doesn't have that distinctive guitar jangle. Instead, 'Pardon Me' has minimal backing for Karima's voice for at least half the tune and you quickly focus on her actual voice because of it. ( reviewed 21.03.2009 )
Fightstar / Mercury Summer *** / *****
Fightstar are a four piece London rock band with a new album due to be released April 2009. Their website makes very good use of flash animation and is extremely well laid out. 'Mercury Summer' itself is anthemic rock music with a left-field tinge rather than being out and out alternative. If only they had a bit more money to spend on production and/or promotion, this could be a massive worldwide hit. It's memorable and very well constructed and proves that London and the UK can do this kind of rock music as well as American does already. Recommended. ( reviewed 21.03.2009 )
La Roux / In For The Kill ** / *****
La Roux is one of these new 2009 acts that sounds like they wanted to have been old enough to remember the 80s. As they really aren't quite old enough, they've decided to create their own 80s music, some twenty years after the event. As a related aside, do you guys remember a couple of years ago Calvin Harris produced a terrible song called 'Respectable In The 80s' which was a big hit? La Roux is better than that, thankfully. Indeed, apart from distinctly 80s reminiscent beats, 'In For The Kill' is just any old new pop song. That sounds terrible, doesn't it? Well, I wonder whether her voice is really strong or distinctive enough for the long haul.( reviewed 21.03.2009 )
Ella / Between Islands **** / *****
This tune from Ella Montclare has spent no less than a year at the top of the UK myspace trip-hop chart, enough to make me investigate this phenomenom. She's sang previously with artists like Babyface and began work for her own material in Dr Dre's studio in LA. Working with Dre's engineer Steve B she honed her own sound, a dreamy and contemporary mix of subtle beats and hippie ideals. 'Between Islands' itself is a deceptive kind of tune. Initially it hardly registers and even after a few repeat plays, you're wondering what it's composed of other than her soft vocals and a repeating, albeit hypnotic beat. It soon becomes clear though, this could be two or ten minutes long and it wouldn't matter. In fact, the longer the better, actually. An original sound for 2009? Well, not quite, but certainly an original sound as far as Ella is concerned and if she can maintain this form, an album should be well worth the wait.( reviewed 21.03.2009 )
Pet Shop Boys / Love Etc *** / *****
After a stint writing the worst album in Robbie Williams career and a night-shift working with Girls Aloud on 'The Loving Kind', Pet Shop Boys return to their day jobs. This is a pleasant slice of 80s tinged electro-pop, one of the daddies of the genre returning to show these youngsters what it's all about. Well, inevitably for a Pet Shop Boys tune, this one is a little repetitive yet also one of the more memorable and tuneful Pet Shop Boys singles for many a year. I like this one. ( reviewed 07.03.2009 )
Pete Doherty / Last Of The English Roses ** / *****
This is not what I was expecting at all from the newly solo ex-Libertine. There's definitely a tune here and it's a fairly typical Doherty effort yet the production and sound is radically different. A heavy bass line runs throughout the tune, mixed in with electronic treatments, acoustic guitar - a very languid mid-tempo effort that grows with repeated listens. Far from being a classic though, especially when coming from the man who penned all those great Libertines songs.
( reviewed 07.03.2009 )
Twisted Wheel / We Are Us **** / *****
Twisted Wheel were named after a famous club in Manchester - they're a three-piece rock band with punk energy, great choruses and have supported the likes of Oasis, Kasabian and The View. I know, I know - don't run away though, 'Twisted Wheel' have enormous potential, a potential 'We Are Us' demonstrates quite effortlessly. Fine production courtesy of Dave Sardy, who has previously worked with Oasis and Marilyn Manson, a tight arrangement, distortion and a thick, wide Mancunian accent that instantly recalls both Oasis and a harder edged Happy Mondays. This tune rushes past and packs a lot into three minutes and I suspect you'll be hearing a lot more from this hotly tipped band, starting with the release of their debut LP which is released April 13th.
( reviewed 07.03.2009 )
Joe Young feat Lil Wayne / Moonlight ***** / *****
Joe Young is a new name on me, but he's been around since he cut 'Cash & Grams' in 2006. I can find no more info on the guy than that, basically. The usually reliable allmusic turns up a blank on biography info or any kind of reviews, as does rateyourmusic. Still, he's joined on 'Moonlight' by Lil Wayne and between them they create what you might call serious, proper modern rap and hip-hop. Absolutely blinding turned up loud, a thumping tune that's intelligent and can be danced to without dumbing down. Absolutely brilliant.
( reviewed 07.03.2009 )
Depeche Mode / Wrong *** / *****
We wonder who they have roped in on production duties this time round to replace Alan Wilder and wonder why they don't just get Alan Wilder back in the band? Yes, 'Wrong' is a preview of the new Depeche Mode album and shockingly, it sounds just like Depeche Mode. Dave Gahan sounds in fine voice, some very 80s sounding noises are in the background, now that the 80s are back in vogue and all. It's strange this song, reminds me of their mid-eighties stuff, quite metallic sounding. A good sound then but not much of an actual song if this is indeed to be the lead single. Well, it could rope back in lapsed fans and we do get a high falsetto part from Martin Gore which is tremendously exciting, but the jury is out, really. ( reviewed 01.03.2009 )
Howling Bells / Cities Burning Down **** / *****
We've got a great female singer here. Her voice combines with distinctive guitars to present something approaching U2 meet Neko Case. They've released two albums to date and along with other Australian acts, herald something of an Aussie rebirth. Well, they're gonna lose the ashes this year, they need something to hold onto.... Second tune Hearts & Armour is a percussive dream and since when did bands these days release genuinely great b-sides? Hmmm, I may well have to get myself the two Howling Bells albums, that's how much this three track single has impressed me.( reviewed 01.03.2009 )
James Yuill / No Surprises *** / *****
He's been described by The Guardian as melancholic electronica, which is a somewhat fitting description. We've got early eighties beats, a very warm voice and a way with simple melodies that today's bands kind of forget about. Then again, James Yuill isn't a band, he's a singer who in this day and age only needs to learn about computers, and hey presto! Yes, he's a one man ship sailing through a storm of landfill indie and making waves among the miserable and the romantic. Yet, he also sees fit to include such a silly sequence of cheap synth notes towards the end of this tune that grinning is a distinct possibility. Let's hope this isn't his best song then and that an album will splash itself across the frontpages soon enough. ( reviewed 01.03.2009 )
Seasick Steve / Happy Man ** / *****
Seasick Steve has no place in the record industry other than as some kind of mascot for those with no musical taste to believe they discovered and unearthed a diamond in the dirt. I've nothing against Seasick Steve except it does really appear than Jack White stole his whole act from Seasick. Then again, Seasick has stolen his whole act from the blues greats, only he himself has only had to hang around long enough to swing into being fashionable, such is the dearth of talent in the industry these days. The song itself here is generic fare, but to be sure, Guardian readers will feel snugly warm with their Seasick Steve MPs when they go to bed, smugly superior that they haven't said in print that they actually prefer Duffy.( reviewed 01.03.2009 )
Teitur / Catherine The Waitress ***** / *****
Born in the Faroe Islands, Teitur is quite a strange fellow. He's writing songs that resemble 70s glam teeny bopper hits, yet does so switching stupid lyrics for quite compelling ones and using cheap technology of the 21st century rather than a bunch of hired goons from somewhere like Scotland. Anyway, I absolutely adore this, this is what the 'new pop' of the 21st century should sound like. This is the guy that should be in the top ten, not bloddy Girls Aloud who are such a throwback to the nineties that it's a wonder nobody has sued them. By the way, the flip-side here, 'Letter From Alex' reveals something that resembles a cross between Bruce Johnston of The Beach Boys, Nick Drake and Beck. Yes, a rather strange ensemble but such a thing is so great in this age of mediocrity. I haven't heard any of Teitur's albums yet, but if they remotely resemble the two songs here, i've found myself a new hero at last.
( reviewed 01.03.2009 )
February 2009Florence & The Machine / Kiss With A Fist *** / *****
Florence & The Machine release their second single and may not after all turn out to be indie-darlings, rather proper, spiky pop-stars instead. 'Kiss With A Fist' is all of two minutes long, it's bouncy and fun and then a punk guitar solo sails through most enjoyably. The b-side is more akin to her previous single, with a mix between Bjork, Siouxsie and Sinead O'Connor vocally. Not much else here, actually but I still want to hear more from Florence and her machines.( reviewed 01.02.2009 )
U2 / Get On Your Boots *** / *****
A new U2 single is always an event and perhaps even more so this time around. 'Get On Your Boots' is a clear attempt at U2 producing new sound. We've therefore got elements of glam, disco, rock, manic-depression – you name it, it's all here. Initially you could easily dismiss 'Get On Your Boots' as mere throwaway fluff, yet that bass-line really is persuasive. Bono doesn't sound like a berk even if the lyrics make zero actual sense. Edge floats in and out of the tune somewhere, tying this to U2 of the past. A good effort all in all and a cautious thumbs up ahead of their forthcoming new LP.( reviewed 01.02.2009 )
Silversky / Calling All Killers *** / *****
I haven't exactly been bowled over by Silversky, yet there is something undeniably impressive about the title track of this new EP. Insistent, aggressive, angry and above all, infuriatingly memorable – so much so – it's not easy to dismiss Silversky. 'Calling All Killers' is the bands second EP and yes, there is enough here to indicate their potential. The production is a little basic, yet the flip of that is the fact it highlights their live sound exceptionally well. Although based in London, singer Pete Smith has strong Irish roots and an undeniable passion for performing. Watch this outfit live if you can, a good time is virtually guaranteed. ( reviewed 01.02.2009 )
A Camp / Stronger Than Jesus ** / *****
Sweden's A Camp release their second LP 'Colonia' February 2nd, 2009. Ex Cardigans vocalist Nina Persson adds her distinctive strong voice to mid-tempo pop tune. It's arguably not a tune that will set the charts alight, seemingly more of an album track and as such, one that's not quite enough for me to rush out and get the album without needing to hear more of it first. Lyrically 'Stronger Than Jesus' is fine, vocally it's fine yet I have nagging doubts niggling at the back of mind how strong 'Colonia' will be. Here's hoping this isn't going to be one of the best songs from the LP and that stronger singles will follow. ( reviewed 01.02.2009 )
Bon Iver / Blood Bank **** / *****
Bon Iver come back from the woods with a four track EP. Arriving pleasingly so soon after their debut, we're much in the same territory as we were during their acclaimed 'For Emma' LP. That was a grower too. So, multi-tracked vocal harmonies are a feature of the sparse opening track, 'Babys'. 'Beach Baby' sounds like it could be 'the radio hit', not that Bon Iver are exactly radio-fare, but you understand what I'm saying, don't you? Lovely melodies here, beautiful melodies for the whispered 'Beach Baby'. 'Blood Bank' itself is the weak link, sounding alarmingly like a Coldplay b-side but thankfully, closing track 'Woods' is here to save the day. 'Woods' is the first real shift away from the style of the 'For Emma...' LP as Bon Iver decide to use the Kanye West vocoder and electronic vocal treatment technology. Don't be alarmed, it's actually a stunning track, especially with the contrasting high vocal parts. This guy really knows how to get the best out of his vocals. ( reviewed 01.02.2009 )
Coldplay / Prospekts March **** / *****
This eight song EP comes directly off Coldplay's hit LP 'Viva La Vida'. 'Prospekts March' then aims to offer up a few genuinely previously unreleased gems alongside remixes and other previously unreleased oddities. Well, 'Postcards From Far Away' is a pointlessly forty-seven seconds of piano-prettiness leading into 'Glass Of Water', a song that sounds like it was left off the 'Viva La Vida' LP for a reason. What could that reason be? Well, it sounds more like a Keane song than it does a Coldplay number. 'Rainy Day' meanwhile sounds far more dancified than almost anything from 'Viva La Vida', as if Coldplay really did make their own 'Achtung Baby' in a parallel universe. A real funky bass line, some strings and intriguing lyrics. A pointless version of 'Lost' with some bits added by Jay-Z.
Colin MacIntyre / Famous For Being Famous *** / *****
Colin sounds a bit like XTC which is not a bad thing to sound a bit like. He also manages to write a song good enough to be a hit in 'Famous For Being Famous'. The sound quality is a little too tinny for my liking however which is a shame and that's enough to stop radio stations from playing MacIntyre's songs at all in this fickle and spoilt world we live in. Joining the lead track then are two extra tracks on the CD, 'You & Me Ground Zero', a song that disturbingly sounds like James Blunt or David Gray. The closing 'When Losers Become Friends' is more interesting - a mid-tempo slice of power-pop, the brass joining acoustic and electric guitars and this track together with 'Famous For Being Famous' is enough to convince this listener that Mr MacIntyre has talent and potential.( reviewed 17.01.2009 )
Florence & The Machine / Dog Days Are Over **** / *****
Florence & The Machine are essentially singer Florence Welch and assorted musicians who come and go. A fluctuating line up, we believe over here on adriandenning.co.uk. Arriving third in this years 'Sound Of 2009' list and therefore tipped for the top - Florence & The Machine's 'Dog Days Are Over' is almost enough to convince me any hype could well be justified in this case. 'Dog Days Are Over' is an almost perfect pop construction, albeit a construction with plenty of edge. Florence's vocals sound like a cross between Laura Marling, Sinead O'Connor and Siouxsie. That's enough of a good mix for me, although inevitably means Florence won't be to everyone's tastes. Great big booming drums are a nice highlight of the lead song and flip side 'You've Got The Love' is an interesting take on the huge early nineties dance classic. ( reviewed 17.01.2009 )
Johnny Foreigner / DJ's Get Doubts ** / *****
Johnny Foreigner were released a very good debut album in 2008 and several acclaimed LPs. 'DJ's Get Doubts' is a rare quieter number from the band, yet no less intriguing or enjoyable for being quieter. Well, it proves that Johnny Foreigner don't just have to release noisy, twisty and jerky guitar stuff all the time. Naturally, i'm slightly disappointed that the b-side here is 'Lea's Room', a track that also graced the debut Johnny Foreigner LP. This kind of thing will annoy your fanbase Mr and Mrs and Miss and Master Johnny Foreigner. As such, this release containing no new material only gets a two. You have been warned!( reviewed 17.01.2009 )
The Foxes / Bill Hicks ***** / *****
Wow, these guys have a real swagger about them. The Foxes for those that need to know are a four-piece who have been filling venues and drawing plenty of acclaim for their music wherever they've been in their short career so far. The Foxes sound accomplished yet have loads of energy, 'Bill Hicks' for instance opens with urgent drums, a spiralling speedy guitar riff soon joined by a 2nd guitar, and this guitar sound is absolutely great. The singer is decent enough without quite sounding as weird as I would have liked him to. Still, we can't have everything and 'Bill Hicks' overall is brilliant enough with the guitar work alone to get me excited. Somehow it's punky and ROCK in a proper ROCK sense, both at the same time. The flip side changes tack slightly with a more considered pace being taken, although lots of funky jerkiness is provided by the guitars. Almost enough to remind me of The Fall this band are in places and that's a good way incidentally to also secure this an adriandenning.co.uk single of the week - well done boys. ( reviewed 17.01.2009 )
The Race / Rudeboy *** / *****
The Race have already been well reviewed by the likes of The Fly and The NME and are due to release their second LP later this year. Both the LP and this single have been produced by Dave Eringa (Manic Street Preachers) and it shows, we've got a healthy amount of shiny rock guitar on display. The song 'Rude Boy' itself isn't exactly memorable or interesting though, more style than substance. The two songs added to the single make up for it, though. 'I Won't Stay Away' has a loose, natural feel and as a result, seems to gain more substance because of it. Third track 'Holy Ghost' is an understated indie experimental gem and here I feel we reach a question to pose to The Race. Do they want to go mainstream-indie aka 'Rude Boy' or do they want to go more satisfyingly experimental and original aka 'I Won't Stay Away' and 'Holy Ghost'? Well, we'll get something approaching an answer hopefully when their LP 'In My Head It Works' appears circa March 2009. ( reviewed 17.01.2009 )
White Lies / Death *** / *****
Together with Florence & The Machine, White Lies have been hotly tipped to be massive during 2009. They remind me of Echo And The Bunnymen with hints of The Killers and Joy Division lurking in the attic enough to have also influenced the recording and composition of 'Death', their chirpy latest single. The chorus takes a little while to arrive and when it finally does proves to be something of an anti-climax, yet there's enough here to make me want to check them out further. They've only very recently been signed, so let's see what the album brings. It could be a gem or it could be an Interpol styled disappointment. We shall see and that story shall be told another time. ( reviewed 17.01.2009 )
Channel Youtube | Contact Us | Find New Music | Features | Music & Web Apps | Ratings At A Glance
Singles Bar | Top 100 Albums | Top 100 Songs |
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Made in Devon