Single Reviews: April 2005

 

Ryan Adams - Let It Ride (Lost Highway) 25/04/2005

Am I missing something or am I just stoopid? I have a release here that the PR documents as a download only single, set for release on what appears to be the 25th of April. First off, it gives no suggestion of where this is available; iTunes, Napster, the web site (what web site)? Well after a little digging around, examining the accompanying CD single, for any reference to the facts I am missing, I happen upon my old friend Google and enter 'Ryan Adams' into the search parameters, to which I am given his official web link, result!

Going to the suggested link, sure enough I find that the single is played to an accompanying animation, with a link to the iTunes music store available. Ok so I have all of my required information, or so I thought, but on trying to access the store I'm told that this release from my Music Store was not yet available (bearing in in mind this was the 25th!). Alright so the 25th was out, where next? Well a further search, gave me nothing with which to take a 'bite', but the iTunes store did suggest that an album release was imminent, the first of 3 albums from what was described this "famously prolific rock troubadour".

Alright, so I'm a little further with my knowledge, but still no firm release date (other than that on my PR). It would seem this is available in the States, but unless I can fool my iTunes download option to think I'm somewhere I'm not, then I just have to make do with the slice I get from viewing his web site. At this point I decide to play the CD that accompanied my package, why not? As good an idea as any I suppose, and after all the playback on his web site does enable me to listen to the single.

Now playing with his band 'The Cardinals' in tow, I'll be honest this does tend to 'er toward the 'flat', a riding musical accompaniment that although is providing a wonderful soundtrack to the house hold chores, is a little bland. So although my opinion is one that just can't shake that image of 'Billy Ray Cyrus', the musical accompaniment from 'The Cardinals' does have a swinging-rocking vein that'll help overcome any dull monotonous chore. This is ultimately that - music to do the housework to. 5/10

Nick James

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Athlete - Half Light (Parlophone) 25/04/2005

Taken from their latest album "Tourist", released in January of this year, this is the next single to follow the hugely popular "Wires", but how will this one fare?

N: Another group I've been hearing a lot of lately and I'm sure we're all aware of the band's growing experience, so it's not that I'm surprised, but listening to the composition this shows a wide and varied palette has been used musically, in terms of composition. It's almost as if I can see the tingle as it moves down my spine.

T I actually think 'Athlete' have improved threefold since their "Vehicles and Animals", which I couldn't really understand all the fuss about. Granted, we gave a fairly average 7 rating to the last single "Wires" at the time it came out, but having subsequently found out what he was actually singing about, I now think that was a great record. I do like this one too in fact, and it's fascinating to see how the complex arrangement all fits into place on the instrumental version that comes with it. 7/10

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Clor - Love and Pain (Regal) 25/04/2005

A self produced debut album is due for release in July, but for now 'Love and Pain' precedes this, so what were our thoughts;

T: Whenever I play this, I think of 'Talking Heads' in their "Little Creatures" era; that is up until it reaches the chords, which is a rather rousing sing-a-long perhaps more reminiscent of early 'Flaming Lips' than anything else. It works anyway.

N: For me I've always been put off by the group's less than savoury 'handle' and the artwork I'm afraid does nothing to win favour (although memorable all the same). I have heard them a lot recent gracing the the airwaves of 6 Music and it was this relationship that finally 'broke the camel's back' and got me taking note. Something a little different and experimental in terms of music and composition, I certainly like what I'm hearing now.

T: Even if you do expect 'Prince' to pop out of the cartoon sleeve at any moment.

N: ! ? 8/10

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Kathryn Williams - Shop Window (CAW Records) 25/04/2005

'Mercury Music Prize' nominee Kathryn Williams takes this latest release from her latest collection of songs 'Over Fly Over', due for release on May 9th. It is said that Kathryn has the classic's in sight and with her forthcoming release has set out to make her very own 'Velvet's' third album, 'Joni Mitchell's' "Blue" or even 'Dylan's' "Blood On The Tracks", but with this in mind and the pressure of expectation this kind of statement no doubt brings, what was our opinion of this taster pointing toward her album's release?

T: This sounds like a weedier version of 'Lush' playing table tennis with 'St. Etienne'. As previously noted, the girl brings with her a 'Mercury' nomination, but I fear she might not have enough ball's to win it..

N: 'Cough', now there's a thought, you've totally thrown my concentration.., but with 'Lush' and 'St. Etienne' in mind, I'd be inclined to throw another into the melting pot and note the 'Throwing Muses', although this time lacking the 'oomph' that this band brought with them. Nice, but instantly forgettable and lacking the need for that last bite. Let's hope the album really does something special. 4/10

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The Rakes - Retreat (Moshi Moshi Records) 18/04/2005

The first encounter I had with this group was that a band of a similar name appears to exist in the US, Minneapolis to be precise, but I suppose this may be of no consequence until the band feel confident enough to break stateside, but the Charlatans found a way around this, so perhaps this is not such an issue.

And do I think that 'The Rakes - UK' are good enough to break where ever they choose to work? I certainly do. Their vocalist has a downward drawl a' la Robert Smith and they sound great. Simply crafted indie rock tunes and lyrics youth might associate with, a' la Smiths. I especially liked the line; "...the girl at the bar is well nice and she's looking over, It's only right that I get the next round in...", the way I'm recounting this to myself perhaps this should be The Streets, Mike Skinner, but it doesn't stop there, this is liquid gold (not in the terms of those naff compilations you used to find in Woolworth's you understand) Gold of the 24 carat variety.

Further testimony of this band's burgeoning greatness is the fact that you'll find not just one track here and that naff B-side, oh no, they shower the listener with not just a second track, 'Dark Clouds', filled with suitable teenage angst, but round off proceedings with a live version of their last single 'Strasbourg',. It was at this point I could detect the spirit of Ian Curtis, something tells me like the finest 'malt', this is how 'The Rakes' should be experienced, neat and free of outside tampering.

Utterly brilliant, take my word for it. 10/10

Nick James

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Nine Inch Nails -   The Hand That Feeds (Island Records) 18/04/2005

Commencing with the heavy 'thud, thud' of the suppressed
sounds of a rock band playing in an adjacent room. It's about 12 seconds before it becomes clear that the band is in fact one in which Trent Reznor is in the driving seat, that's right those 'Nine Inch Nails'. As he bursts through the door with the angst of a man 13 or so years older than on the release of his finest hour, it might be true to say that the years just slipped away.

As the band prepare to release the first original full-length fruits of the 21st century, I'd have to say that this is either the strongest product from the forthcoming 15 track release, [With_Teeth], due for release on the 02/05/2005, or as I sincerely hope, just a mere reflection of what's to come. The lyrics are filled with the emotions of someone whose been pissed off for a long time with no way of expressing himself, the music, with the awesome power of a band adhering to the 'industrial' label.

On my hearing 'Fragile' back in 1999, my initial disappointment was not softened by the passage of time. Had my increasing years sounded the 'toll' of my youth and was my displeasure of such music just an inevitable result of this? Well 'The Hand That Feeds' has answered my question, this is just as fresh sounding as when I first heard 'Pretty Hate Machine' in my early 20's. In short, it's what's in the grooves that counts. 9/10

Nick James

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The Dissociatives - Young Man, Old Man (You Ain't Better Than the Rest) (Virgin)

This is the result of a collaboration between one of Australia's leading lights of electronic music and ex-Silverchair frontman Silverchair. This is their first single.

T: Sounds like the Steve Miller Band making a comeback after an evening on the dope...

N: I don't know if I can entirely see your association, but perhaps where their name comes in. Certainly a seventies fuelled MOR tune. Nothing to dislike, but I can hear shades of "I Am the Walrus" from time to time.

T: Perhaps, to a lesser extent. I can't believe you can't see the Steve Miller Band reference! Still, as you say, nothing to dislike; nothing to swoon over either though, would you agree?

N: Altogether nice. Does that say it all? 6/10

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Interpol - C'mere (Matador) 11/04/2005

Prick up your ears, 4 peice Interpol are playing on the radio. 'C'mere', the latest offering to be taken from their second album 'Antics'- and barely begs, more demands to be heard. The band play music of a simply crafted variety a'la early eighties indie (who had their money on the fact that the 80's would make a return?), but instead of the high octane New Romanticism we saw stride on to the scene some years ago, it's 'indie' that wins the day this time round.

Daniel Kessler (guitarist/backup vocs) is who is described as the 'mastermind' behind New York's Interpol, but it's their bassist , Carlos that really stikes an affected pose. I mean to carry off his surname for a start (Dengler) takes some kind of ability - sounds more linke an actor from a 70's porn flick - think Ron Mael from the Sparks, minus his 'tach and you're almost there'. Although perhaps not my most favourite track from the album, this one's a goodie all the same and so deserves, 8/10.

Nick James

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The*Ga*Ga*s – Left of Centre (Sanctuary) 11/04/2005

Either I’m going soft, or everything we’re being sent at the moment is really good.

Of course, I KNOW I’m not going soft, because I had an astonishing rant – Delia style – at my fellow Leicester City supporters a few weeks ago, after they failed to get behind the team during a 1-0 loss to local rivals Nottingham Forest; therefore, it must be the latter – everything HAS been great.

As a reviewer, you do become conscious that you’ve given far too many high marks in the odd month, but really there’s not much you can do about it when everything just purely ROCKS!

Anyway, The Ga*Ga*s’ latest single is a powerful cascade of brilliant noise. That’s all I need to say really, and the track that accompanies it, “Leaving the Exits Clear”, is equally good. 9/10

Tone E

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Razorlight – Somewhere Else (Vertigo) 11/04/2005

Listening to this single makes me wonder whether I had previously underestimated the versatility of Jonny Borrell’s songwriting.

It stands somewhere between the cynicism of Jarvis Cocker, the out and out catchiness of a Pete Shelley composition and the sheer feelgood factor of a rockier Stones number.

The way it build and builds up to the glorious finale, this is most definitely my favourite thing Razorlight have released by far. 9/10

Tone E

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HAL - Play The Hits (Rough Trade) 11/04/2005

I couldn't help feeling, as soon as I'd hit play, that I'd heard this somewhere before, but considering its release is some way off I guess this is just be conjecture. This single from the Irish quartet is laced with simple melodies, an upfront guitar riff and is described as "uttlerly brilliant" by the accompanying press, a fact it would have to be said I cannot argue, but they did miss the obvious 'Wilson' brothers influence that is clearly present on this 3'21" pop slice. 8/10

Nick James

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Super Discount 2 – Fast Track (Someone like you) (PIAS/Different) 11/04/2005

As previously reviewed by AD we are big fans of Superdiscount and this new release which is a vocal version of Fast Track. Great vocals, very sexy sassy edge to the lyrics and blends perfectly with a slightly remixed original and a great remix from Benni Bennassi. Available on CD and 12” from 11th April. For once a vocal re-rub that is better than the original. 9/10

Nic Caesar

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Vitalic – My Friend Dario (PIAS/Different) 11/04/2005

Three mixes available on this one, which is the first release of his new album ‘OK Cowboy’. A tough electro/techno feel to it but with an almost pop edge that makes it very accessible. Cool roboticised female vocals laced over a tough rocky track with a simple beat make this a punky, electro, techno fusion with an epic sound. 8/10

Nic Caesar

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Undercut – Soul Food Mother (Distiller) 04/04/2005

Very much in the vain of a more laid back Foo Fighters (“Learn to Fly” for example), Undercut have chosen to release a very appealingly understated three tracks here as their first “proper” single.

It’s one of those things you can stick on and drift off to another world for a few short minutes…like a really good trip. It actually feels at times like your insides are being given a very pleasant massage.

Ones to watch for the future? I very much think so! 8/10

Tone E

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The Departure – Lump In My Throat (Parlophone) 04/04/2005

When this track begins, it seems that vocalist David Jones is trying too hard to emphasize his Northamptonshire accent a little too much and you feel a little irritated. The funny thing is, once you get used to that factor, it actually grows on you enormously and I’ve ended up really liking both the single and voice a lot!

Musically it’s very reminiscent of Eco and the Bunnymen’s early eighties output and yes, I admit it now – Jones’ voice is extremely original and distinctive. What a great single! 9/10

Tone E

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The Yards - The Devil Is Alive and Well and In DC (Erotica/Snapper) 04/04/2005

Ex-Seahorses frontman Chris Helm's new outfit released this download only single on April 4th and it'll be available for a limited time.

T: Easily my favourite track on the band's eponymous debut album, this is a real Stones style rocker that makes you want to jump around. There seems to be something about the word "Devil" that I like in songs - I mean, take this one, "The Devil Went Down to Georgia", Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds "Up Jumped the Devil" and so on...perhaps excluding Cliff's "Devil Woman" though, admittedly...

N: What came to mind when I first heard this group was another testosterone filled rock band, that of Reef. They first graced the music scene at almost the same time during the last decade. Is this saying something, or am I just looking for conspiracy theories...Tone?

T: Pfft. You'll be telling me they never went to the moon next...

N: Surely that routine was just George Lucas' prelude to "Star Wars"...

8/10

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Do Me Bad Things – What’s Hideous (Must Destroy Music/Atlantic) 28/03/2005

Well this most certainly was NOT what I was expecting!

After the band’s previous outing, “Time For Deliverance”, many of us had them pinned down as an “indie funk rock” band. Well, someone’s been and planted an anti-conformity bomb in our pigeonhole and it’s just blown up in our faces!

Starting off like the Black Eyed Peas meeting Destiny’s Child while Linkin Park pop in for a biscuit, this quite absurd single then sinks effortlessly into what can only be described as mid-seventies “mellow soul disco”, very reminiscent of First Choice’s “Armed and Extremely Dangerous” at that point.

Now, while this particular single doesn’t entirely float my boat, I have to say that I AM rubbing my hands in anticipation of the group’s forthcoming album!

7/10

Tone E


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Fisherspooner – Just Let Go (EMI) 28/03/2005

Great single, tough beats and synths with punky vocals and classic melodies in the making! We will remember this one for ever! Check out the album review! 9/10

Nic Caesar

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I Am Kloot – Over My Shoulder (Echo) 28/03/2005

Thankfully, Johnny Bramwell and co have stopped sounding like Oasis and are now more akin to the Lightning Seeds earliest – and best – three minute pop songs.

The acoustic “Great Escape”, which comes as one of the further two tracks here, makes you feel like John Lennon has risen from his grave and burst into your living room wielding a guitar, eventually breaking into a full scale rant. Actually, although I LIKE the main track as well, I have to say that THIS one is fantastic!

“Junk Culture” somehow reminds me of Vini Reilly’s Durutti Column and, let’s be honest, that’s not a bad thing either.

A very strong single indeed. 8/10

Tone E

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Queenadrena – FM Doll (One Little Indian) 21/03/2005

I’m pretty sure I’ve reviewed this single before, when it was released a couple of years ago…hang on…AHA! Yes, I did, because I’ve just brought my previous thoughts up on the screen in front of me.

Anyway, it still sounds great after all this time. In fact, it actually comes across as quite a horny little number until you realise it’s about the murder of a “six year old American beauty who met her death on Christmas Day 1996”. A true story then, and somehow when you become aware of that, the “fun” element of the song altogether disappears that had previously seemed apparent. With that in mind, I’ve decided to eliminate that track as a potential “stripping for the missus” tune now. Then again, given the state of my beer belly, that’s probably not such a bad thing…

8/10

Tone E

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The Havenots – Flyers (Cooking Vinyl) 21/03/2005

We seem to be somewhat blessed here in Leicester at the moment with a plethora of exciting new artists – Kasabian, My Awesome Compilation, Elle Milano…and The Havenots.

I can’t for the life of me imagine how I managed to miss this band before, as their beautiful vocal harmonies blend perfectly with their splendid alt-country melodies and the overall effect is something utterly gorgeous.

I shall be making a point of following The Havenots’ progress over the coming months, as I think with the right marketing, this duo can be huge – and deservedly so!

9/10

Tone E

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The Thrills – The Irish Keep Gate Crashing 21/03/2005

Launching straight into an almighty instrumental, The Thrills new single from their second album gives little time for contemplation from start to finish. The now expected hearty Irish vocals sing of the difference between love and lust, and accompany a rapid musical fanfare involving pianos, guitars and string instruments that to me create a sound suspiciously like the soundtrack to an old romantic movie.

This is an enjoyable, albeit brief song that exemplifies the bands more sentimental mood. 7/10

David Elphick


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The Glitterati – You Got Nothing On Me (Atlantic) 14/03/2005

It took me quite a while to get into this – I felt like I ought to be hating it, but I decided it’s actually a damn good tune in the end. Like the Little Angels swapping costumes with Queensryche and belting out Dinosaur jr. songs, this is surprisingly addictive and I wouldn’t be in the least bit surprised if it hit the charts. It’s interesting to note though that the band do NOT hail from different parts of US suburbia, but in fact are born and bred in Blighty – Leeds, to be exact.

Not that they haven’t made a splash Stateside – lauded producer Mike Clink of Guns ‘n’ Roses “Appetite For Destruction” fame was suitably impressed that he agreed to produce the band’s debut album, due for release in May.

Kerrang! magazine got it spot on when they called The Glitterati “a stadium rock band done garage style”. A very promising start, to say the least. 8/10

Tone E


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The Donnas – I Don’t Want To Know (If You Don’t Want Me) (Atlantic) 07/03/2005

A great slice of rock ‘n’ roll from the rock chick quartet, this is the second single taken from the latest album “Gold Medal”.

N: A mere 'kebab' releasing music? Now whatever next.

T: No with snatches of Garbage, Free, Hole, Joan Jett and Elastica abound amongst others, and “I Don’t Want To Know” is a hugely entertaining romp that is backed with an equally absorbing tune called “Done With You”, which is as sexy as it is infectious. Great stuff.

N: Oh alright then, I'll have mine with extra sauce. 8/10

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Bjork – Triumph of a Heart (One Little Indian) 28/02/2005

Taken from her “Flying Pickets on LSD” album – the celebrated “Medulla” – this single once again is devoid of any instruments whatsoever and it really shouldn’t work. After all, this kind of thing was what we used to witness on the cringefest that was “That’s Life”: - “yes, mummy said I should come on and let the nation hear my version of “God Save the Queen”, played by pulling my foreskin with a pair of tweezers and slapping it against the shell of a very angry tortoise…”

Somehow though, it DOES work, and hey, whaddya know? I’ve finally found a Bjork single that doesn’t give me a headache! Woohoo! 8/10

Tone E

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The Wonder Stuff – Bile Chant (IRL Records) 21/02/2005

Well, being a longstanding Stuffies fan, I’m sure it’ll surprise you none to learn that I think this is a fantastic, gloriously snarly tune with the kind of dazzling melody we’re used to Miles and Malc coming up with by now.

What more is there to say about it? It’s probably my favourite track on the album at present, and it is backed with some excellent mixes – especially the dub version – along the way. Brilliant. 9/10

Tone E

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