Single Reviews: March 2004

 

[The Real] Tuesday Weld - Bathtime In Clerkenweld EP (Pias Recordings)

Apparently inspired by the dreams of Al Bowlly and the American actress/come pin-up girl of late fifties America, Tuesday Weld, not to mention 1930's jazz, Gainbourg and Morricone the self titled [The Real] Tuesday Weld (aka Stephen Coates) - (umm, I went to school with a Stephen Coates, naaah), packages a healthy slice of retro on this 4-track EP.

Tunes that encompass the irrelevant, the slap-stick, the serene and that, that might easily be considered for air-play, reveling in their wierdness, whilst at the same time harking back to a sound that it may be considered made music popular. The 'Bathtime In Clerkenwell EP' is all that and more in that it signifies the full re-release of 'Tuesday's' full-length album, 'I Lucifer' in the coming months. This album was originally released on the Dreamy records label back in early 2003 and now will see the light of day once again, through the foresight (and most probably a similar love for wierdness), of the [Pias] label.

The tune that certainly makes this a relevant release 'par-excel lance' is the final number here,
'The Ugly And The Beatiful', think Matt Johnson's 'The The', Oasis and The Gallager Brother's grim, but somehow photogenic guise and it all becomes clear. Come to think of it 'The Ugly And The Beatiful', isn't that very much indicative of today's 15-minute reality hero's?

My estimation of this small format release increases with each listen, totally addictive. It's all there on the web-link, take a look. 10/10

web site

 
 

 

TDR - Coming Down (PIAS)

This one has a B side that has seen a lot of air play in the form of 'Plique'.With a release date of the 26th April this will surely follow suit. A tough acid bassline and electro tweaks make this a stormin little number. Several good mixes available so we will hear a lot from this track before it goes away! 8/10

Nic Caesar

web site

 
 

 

Seal - Waiting For You (Warner Brothers)

The third in the single stakes to be taken from this artists latest album, the million selling 'IV'. Certainly a move from his earlier releases from this album, perhaps hinting at the albums breadth of content. A jazzed up, rocked out moment with Seal proving his vocal abilities. On the downside, this single only appears to offer nothing more than what may be found on the album, whereas his earlier offerings did at least bring to the party, versions at the very least being awarded the listener and in the case of 'Love's Divine' (the additional track here) contributing a video presentation. In this I have to mark the single in two guises, as an introduction to his current album 'IV', 7/10, however for the mercinary lack of thought his label have given this release 3/10

Nick James

web site

 
 

 

Calvin Richardson - I've got to move (HollywoodRecords/WEA)

Taken from his critically acclaimed second album '2.35pm', this release promises good things from this talented young man. 'I've got to move' is a superb soul groove and his distinctive vocals wedge themselves tidily into your mind. A good few mixes to boot, this one will have you humming for ages. Released 15th March. 9/10

Nic Caesar

web site

 
 

 

Nic Armstong - Broken Mouth Blues EP (One Little Indian)

As you might guess from the singles title, this is a wholesome singer, wailing with all the ability of a broken hearted man. But take the 4 tracks on offer here, back 40 years and I'll think you'll find they'll seat neatly alongside any of the output from around this time, especially as Nic can be found paying tribute to Chuck Berry's 'I Want To Be Your Driver' at track 4. This bought forth memories of a leather clad Lennon, around about the time the quartet were playing gigs during their 'Hamburg' phase and on learning that Nic was raised in the North East on a diet of The beatles, Chuck Berry and Cochran, it's easy to see why he turned out exactly why he did. Although the sound is taken from over 40 years ago, this is still as fresh as a daisy. 8/10

Nick James

web site

 
 

 

B2K feat. Fabulous - Badaboom (EPIC)

This class act are back with a class track. As you would expect great beats soulful, funky vocals and a variety of mixes on offer to satisfy all. Out 1st March, you wont be able to ignore this one! 8/10

Nic Caesar

web site

 
 

 

Automato - Walk Into Light (Labels UK)

A 'Deus'esque' refrain greeted me on first hearing this tune, but then moves into a hip-hop, rap groove. I like the outfits use of augmented notes that add a suitable strangeness to the music - like the old lady from 'Big Fish', cob webs cling to the wood work and kids run past not wishing to get caught in her gaze.

Maybe an odd comparison, but this number really deserves something that is slightly different. Not the usual street groove, I can't say I can file this group under anything that immeadiately compares. if not exatly original, they've tried to create something truely different and it works. The guys play Glasgow on Saturday the 3rd of April and London the following Monday, the 5th. 9/10

Nick James

 
 

 

The Pernice Brothers - The Weakest Shade Of Blue (One Little Indian)

It's a family affair here, well almost, ok so not even almost, but Joe Pernice and his brother Bob have offered their family name to this group of West Coast rockers (I'm not really sure of that one, but their sound rings of a Sixties Beach Boys freelove vibe - so i'll stick with it). This is the lead track, taken from their 'Yours, Mine & Ours' album, released last year, an album so silky smooth that a fan it made of me, instantly. "Won't you come away with me and begin something we can understand", the opening words from a remarkable song - 'sappy' I can hear you say, but put in context, one that works on so many differents levels, a guy to his girl, or the band to the listener - asking for acceptance of their music, it won't be hard to do. 9/10

Nick James

web site

 
 


 

Graham Coxon - Freakin' Out (Transcopic/Parlophone)

Being released as a limited numbered 7 inch single only, this has already garnered "Single of the Week" status on Mark and Lard's show and an album is due outin May, produced by Stephen Street.

N: Graham exercises after approximately three minutes of his latest single that if you're stuck for words, practise the tried and tested "la la la la" in time with the musical backing.

T: A lot of people are quick to dismiss Blur and any solo efforts from new and old band members, but I have say that they are one of the few bands to have earned their worth and released a deluge of wonderful moments that could be used to soundtrack our lives. This is no exception, as the band's former guitarist has released what I can only describe as a totally perfect modern punk record. This is fantastic.

N: A perfect modern punk moment indeed. I think Graham might indeed be onto a winner here. 10/10

web site - words

 
 

 

 

Agoria - Stereo Love (Pias)

The first release from 'Blossom' the superb album previously reviewed by yours truly for AD last year. This release comes with some really cool remixes. 'Villneuve' contribute with distorted vocals.

The 'Me and Timy Remix' bring guitar distortion and a techno buzz, but for an epic polyphonic experience check out the 'Paul Kalbrenner remix'!!! 9/10

Nic Caesar

web site

 
 

 

 

Seafood - Summer Falls (Cooking Vinyl)

It's been a while, but during the time since the release of their second album 'When Do We Start Fighting', Seafood have been busy touring extensively; Europe, the US and UK. The first fruits of their new work is 'Summer Falls', perhaps a little misplaced as we sit here desperately awaiting our Summer to kick in, but it is getting warmer.

Back to the single - a typically Seafood number, a bass-line riding the pattern laid before it by the constant, although never overpowering drums. Guitar kicks in from time to time and opens up the confined sound into a masterpiece of song writing. Where can you purchase this gratifying piece of work? Answer; you can't - the band have offered this up as a free download, available from the link noted below. If you're a fan, then you're 'quid's in' and if you not , well this will make the perfect introduction to a fantastic band, but hurry as the download is only available until the 31st of March, 2004. What are you waiting for? 8/10

Nick James

download

 
 

 

 

The Boxer Rebellion - In Pursuit (Poptones)

Their second single on the Poptones label, "In Pursuit" will be out in late March and the Aussie/English four piece are looking like a band to watch for the near future.

N: The first I've notably heard from the former head of Creation records, this groups first single unfortunately missed me. The band, it may be worth noting have a sound close to that of Muse, and as my colleague noted are hotly tipped. Well with McGhee in their corner, these fighters are sure to avoid the canvas.

T: Also shades of "The Bends" era Radiohead, and....and...I'm sorry, I'm still trying not to laugh pitifully at your last comment...

N: Touche! 8/10

web site

The bands video for the single can be viewed by clicking here (Windows Media Player required),
(my experience was this may take a while to load, but once done so it was worth the wait) - Editor.

 
 

 

 

Haven - Wouldn't Change A Thing (Radiate)

It's not going to set the world alight, although given its dues it's not as downcast as a 'Travis' number. The band appear to have unwillingly or otherwise written a single that attempts to cater to a mass 30-something audience. I can see this fitting in quite well to a Radio 2 afternoon schedule. 6/10

Nick James

web site

 
 

 

 

Magnet - Lay Lady Lay (Ultimate Dilemma)

Trying to cover a Dylan song successfully is going to be one of two scenarios, you'd try to replicate the singers drawl and completely mess it up, or as this has done you turn that drawl into a musical composition and create an item of work that really pays tribute. Surprisingly Magnet really have recorded a number that works on all levels and although it won't take from the original masterpeice, this deserves to fit nicely alongside. The single also features two further tracks; 'Wish Me Well' - a Breachboys'esque number that sits comfortably with the earlier cover version and 'Last Day Of Summer', a tripped out number, that following the first two tracks I'm not so inclined to believe in, maybe I'll return to this one on its own. 8/10

Nick James

web site

 
 

 

 

T: There are so many bands that sound like the Divine Comedy at the moment

N: Yes. LIKE the DIVINE COMEDY...

The Divine Comedy - Come Home Billy Bird (Parlophone)

T: Oh I SEE. Ah well, at least I know my references are accurate! Anyway, this is as assured a single as you'd expect from Neil Hannon and his band. Lyrically sound, and accomplished musicians performing a real grower of a tune that's just about on a par with most of their better singles.

N: I like Neil Hannon, and this does nothing to alter this view. As the title suggests, "Come Home Billy Bird", ..."international business traveller...". I think it's great the lyrical perspective that he writes from. Can this man do nothing wrong? 8/10

 
 

 

 

Gomez - Catch Me Up (Hut)

With their 4th album, 'Split The Difference', on the horizon - release scheduled in May, the band have issued the first fruits from this forthcoming opus, the very Gomez 'Catch Me Up'. Full of what I might only describe as blue grass guitar, the song sets a pace that increases from beginning to end, when on spying the finishing posts winds to a rather unfulfilling standing. On saying this I discover I've not really made my mind up as to this latest effort handed in by the Gomez lads, is it to be a B+ or an A-, this is where I'm left hanging. In mind of earliest presentations I feel disappointed, but with an album only stones throw away, I'm intrigued as to how much ground these guys can make up?

Having opted this time for assistance on the recording and producing side from Tchad Blake, the man resposible for works with Tom Waits and Crowded House, I'm left wondering how straight forward this will make the men from the deepest, darkest depths of the Sussex county. 5/5 (could do better).

Nick James

web site

 
 

 

 

The Needles – Under the City e.p. (Dangerous Records)

As promising a single as you could wish to hear from a band that has flourished since its foundation in Aberdeen in the late 1990s, and then some!

A friend of mine pointed out that they were similar in style to the D4, and I can see where he’s coming from, but to me this band is far more original, raw and exciting than their antipodean contemporaries will ever be.

Featuring four tracks of the utmost quality right from the outset, “Under the City” is like a rabid dog at your throat, picking you up and hurling you about before spitting you out defiantly and daring you to mount a counter attack.

In short, a quartet of wonderfully ballsy (post) punk tunes that ought to underline the group’s credentials as a band you really need to get to know better! Fantastic. 10/10

Tone E

 
 

 

 

Crackout – This Is What We Do (EMI)

They still sound like a faintly darker version of The Cure to me, as well as a less irritating version of The Darkness.

This is one of the stronger moments lifted from the band’s forthcoming album “Oh No!”, and should subsequently raise the interest of music lovers everywhere enough to eventually make some kind of dent in the national chart. 8/10

Tone E

web site

 
 

 

 

Chicks On Speed - Wordy Rappinghood (EMI Music Germany)

A cover of Tom Tom Club's early eighties hit, and featuring a vocal appearance from the latter band's Tina Weymouth.

T: Can we just cut the crap and say this is shit and be done with it?

N: Well really I think that we should validate your statement, by at least mentioning that cover versions should at least try to add something to the original, otherwise it just becomes bad karaoke. And although these chicks have added to the original(ish), no, not for the better. You should hear the album; that really would be cruel! NEXT! 2/10

web site

 
 

 

 

Hidingplace - At One Time Or Another e.p. (RCA)

The foundations of this Glaswegian 5-piece were laid in the kinship between twin brothers Derek and David Somerville, both just 19, and their high school friend Paul McCallion.

T: These boys can sure play their instruments well. they belt out their tunes at an impressive level, but somehow they don't quite cut it for me. They sound like about two hundred other bands that I played gigs with in my youth. And none of them made it. Enough said.

N: I'd say the group are really uninspiring for me as we stand at their debut. Lyrics, yes, full of the angst experienced in their youth, and I'm sure this will connect with an audience out there, but alas, not me. Hey Tone look, it's still got the tabs in.

T: Excellent. I'll record Chicks On Speed over the top of this then.

N: Uhhh?

3/10

 
 

 

 

Delays - Nearer Than Heaven (Rough Trade)

This Southampton four piece have been making chart headway recently, scoring their first top 20 hit with their last single "Long Time Coming". The album follows in April.

T: You're going to mention the Mamas and papas again now aren't you?

N: I think i just did! A group I am sure who are set to follow in the wake of the likes of Dodgy and the Thrills.

T: Laid back and relaxing. there's not a great deal else to say. I'm sure radio play will come easy. 6/10

 
 

 

 

Hothouse Flowers - Your Love Goes On (Rubyworks)

The opening track from the band's impressive forthcoming album, this is released in early March.

T: Well, pretty much as we said on the album review really. This is a suitably free and soulful single that puts many of today's contemporaries severely in the shade and gives them something to aspire to, though having said that, this in my opinion, is far from the strongest track on the album.

N: As is often the case, but will certainly make it an easy introduction to the aforementioned album. 7/10

web site

 
 

 

 

The Vaults - No Sleep No Need e.p (Lucky7/Red Flag)

T: Does this band like Motorhead or what?

N: It sounds like a band trying to REPLICATE Motorhead without the big man himself.

T: Yeah, it doesn't quite have the desired effect does it? I mean, it's a fairly solid rock 'n' roll record, but it's definitely one that i wouldn't rush out and buy. And readers, if you ever saw a review of a record that explains in a few sentences exactly what the band is about, then this is it!

N: I can see where this band are pitching themselves, just like the Darkness went for the retro-glam market, The Vaults are the bastard cchild of Lemmy and Sabbath. make of that as you will. 6/10

 
 

Featured This Month: Wrath Records Super Sevens Singles Club

 

 

Super Sevens #1 (Wrath10)
Les Flames!
- Commitment To Excellence / Little Japenese Toy - Fingermouse

Described as 'Gallic Upstarts', make of that as you will, 'Les Flames' are a guitar driven 'punk-band' and start the collection in fine fettle, with a cracking little ditty of anarchic irrelevance, a statement of how we all felt at sometime or another I'm sure. "Bang On"! 'Little Japenesse Toy's' cruching whack follow on side-B, with a somewhat abstract punk 'fire-cracker', shouty lyrics that seem to have no relevance at all, except to the 4-year old jumping about on-top of seated furniture in an e-number fuelled frenzy. The press-release described this as being created by "a bunch of grinning young children who have been doubled-dared to bobby-trap an insanely jaunty pop song with timed custard ballons", can't say more really other than unsure where the 'pop' came in, but never having knowing thrown anything at a 'pop-song' other than abuse when appropriate, I can't say really. More irrelevant than the last, jaunty none the less. 7/10

Super Sevens #2 (Wrath12)
Galitza
- Stargazers Know This Stuff / The Bilderberg Group - Good Bad

'Galitza' screams independant(!), I'm thinking Bleach and any number of girl-fronted guitar groups inhabiting the early nineties. Sporting a fetching brand of lyrical fantasty - well consider "Elvis doen't rock, Kylie isn't hard...", the musical chaos becomes too much from here-on, but I'm sure is suitably fetching all the same. Opening with a suitably delicious drum led chasing beat, 'The Bilderberg Group' make a good impression on first encounter. A country tinged sound, I felt rang true to 'The Beta Band', but with far more tassles, supporting a catchy little lyrical hook, ultimately may have the tendency to annoy, strong all the same. 8/10

Super Sevens #3 (Wrath13)
Farming Incident - The Flute Of Shame / Mama Scuba - Sweet Girl

Crackle, crackle as the sound familiar to those of us weened on black plastic as our primary source of audible pleasure goes, the lead-in groves head toward the, whoa, sounds like someone stroking an annoyed 'Paul', fat and unforgiving and as beats join the cacophony all becomes a little clearer. It has to be said the 'Farming Incident' sound a little like Phil Oakey during the days when The Human League were finding themselves (circa '79), but with guitars instead of a collection of electrical currents. Delightful in its simplicity. As this heads off to a tribal rhythm, I can see why 'Mama Scuba' were chosen as vinyl mates to our last feature. Tortured vocals, join the melody created by the one sane guitar a'la Thousand Yard Stare and as we ride wave after wave of peaks and crests of foaming sound, the fury abaits to the sound of white noise and we are left with the singers manic jabbering indelibly burned in our minds. 9/10

Super Sevens #4 (Wrath14)
Being 747 - Swingball / Magoo - We R Synchronized

Their album reviewed in February's issue to great aclaim, 'Being 747' put on good face on the 4th Super Sevens release. Crunching guitars back vocalist Dave Cooke's Gedge'esque tones in this swift pop song of apparently playground antiques. 'Magoo' were once familiar to this writer, having caught up with the group at several local gigs 10 or so years ago, it's been a while and they now appear to me as unfamiliar faces, although their sound, fast, furious and albeit 3-minutes appears fitting fo this independant release. I think the weaker of the two track featured here, but with an album due for release soon, I reserve judgement for now. However nice nice to see you back guys. 7/10

Super Sevens #5 (Wrath15)
The Scaramanga Six - The Poison Pen / Beach Buggy - Nineteen

Kicking off with the somewhat disturbing 'Poison Pen', by 'The Scaramanga Six', a track I understand to be the first available track to be aired from the bands session work with the Cardiacs maestro Tim Smith. Mad, furious, wild-eyed, take your pick, this song hits the mark on all three and many more besides. Whereas 'Beachbuggy's' Hook'esque bass riff that start their number throws an indifferent gaze at their vocalists wild-eyed stare, portrayed by his vocal presentation. But be warned, these guys are only here at the kind permission of their 'Poptones' label. 6/10

Nick James


Competition

Wrath Records
have this month offered our readers the opportunity of being in with the chance of winning a years subscription to this esteemed club. So if you're sick of the manufactured crap that keeps hitting your ears from various sources, then why not have a go in answering the question available in our Wrath Records competition page and celebrate all that is 'indie' - click here.

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Ooops!: One's that we've (almost) missed

 

 

Dave Clarke feat Chicks on Speed - What Was Her Name (Skint) (Released February 9th 2004)

Genuine high quality Techno, characterfull vocals provided by Chicks on Speed. Three mixes available - LFO remix the pick of the bunch.

A great single from a great album. 9/10

Nic Caesar

web site

 
 

 

 

Ilya - Bellisimo (Virgin) (Released February 16th 2004)

Beautiful vocals and a sticky sweet melody. The more upbeat remixes add a buzz to a soul melting vocal. The Ilya remix offers funky breaks with the jazziest banjo I ever did here!

As you would expect the Ashley Beedle remixes offer quality production. He feeds a Samba beat into the melody and shadowy trumpets couple the vocals well. He even builds in a crecsendo of strings and even a touch of Oboe.

Lovely is a great word for it. We will be hearing it on many a chill out session for sure! 9/10

Nic Caesar

web site

 
 

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