Single Reviews: April 2008

 

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Drive By Argument - Dance Like No-one's Watching (Lizard King) 28/04/2008

N: With the opening chords, Drive By Argument's "Dance Like No-one's Watching" proved promising, then vocalist Stoke chimed in like so many others.

T: Yep. Another case of breadcrumbs dressed as veggie sausage (hey I'm veggie ok? I don't use the mutton/lamb analogy) and they sit perfectly with that ever expanding (in terms of personnel rather than musically) "scene". As Nick says, it starts with a pulsating, exciting vibrancy but gets lost in the whirlwind of Gitpop. 5/10

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The Rivers - She Gives It Around (NoCarbon) 28/04/2008

T: What's going on? Are The Rivers bedfellows of The Splendour? This, after all, sounds just like Alex Kapranos again, perhaps with a sprinkling of The Zutons for good measure, or Razorlight on "Fold For You", but anyway, that kind of NWOBP (New Wave Of Britpop). It's a bit weird to have so many copycat bands around, and just further deepens my appreciation for the likes of Alex Turner.

N: This band DO possess a self assured swagger. Just why do they have to sound so undoubtedly like another band? Musically and vocally. This is not Stars In Their Eyes, it's the real thing boys. It's not like Matthew Kelly's going to walk through that door at the back of the stage. We want to hear YOU, not the album you were listening to last night. 3/10

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The Splendour - Audio (Tinyclan Records) Unknown

N: A dead ringer for Franz Ferdinand leaves me in two minds - are The Splendour trying their hand at music by numbers, or just being lazy?

T: They're just being lazy. Mediocrity at its best. 6/10

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The Getaway Team - Lost All Hope (Easy Tiger) 28/04/2008

T: Uninspiring, throwaway jangly guitar fodder for people who are gradually turning into sheep.

N: I don't like the vocalist's phrasing either, pitching himself somewhere between Adam Ant and Kate Nash, which would be ok if he WERE the aforementioned. Next time, perhaps he could write a song about his menstrual cycle or something.

T: Hasn't Alice Cooper already done that? 4/10

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The Thirst - Sail Away (Wooden Records) 28/04/2008

T: This sounds like all the present bands who are tiresomely labelled as "indie" rolled into one. It's a bit of a surprise then, that Wooden Records is owned by Ronnie Woods. Oh, hang on a minute, there's an extra "s" on the end of his name....perhaps not...

N: Obviously taking influences from an artist expired, or not heard of for some time is okay, but to follow the current trend could be considered sloppy, as is the case here. Nothing new I'm afraid, although the B-side, David E Sugar's Morning Jim Remix, offers some juxtaposition. I fail to believe, however, that it is, in fact, the same song! 5/10

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White Denim - Let's Talk About It (Full Time Hobby) 28/04/2008

T: I'm a sucker for old sixties garage punk stuff, and the fact that the White Denim boys have put their own twist on the likes of The Sonics or MC5 makes this a tantalisingly brilliant record. It's easily my favourite single of 2008 so far, and as a result it's entirely up to Nick as to whether he's going to spoil the party or not. There's a brilliant video with it too boot.

N: White Denim have obviously used far too much bleach and risked the garment falling apart. It may also be considered that the fumes have also played a part in the making of this threadbare number.

T: I have no idea from what you've just said whether you like it or not.

N: It is an acquired taste, certainly...

T: ...but you clearly don't like it as much as me...

N: I didn't say that, I was thinking. The band have done their best at making a track with as little the critics can negatively get their teeth into, whilst still providing a structure that can call it a single.

T: What a load of old waffle.

N: Did it show? 8/10 (BASTARD - Tone)

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Tiger Stripes - Beach Buggy (Urbantorque) 28/04/2008

N: Described as the queen of dark house, Nicole Moudaber is the artist responsible for the production and remix of this TS track. This syrupy, high caffeine dose of late night clubland mixes an African vibe with the most extreme of this inner city chaos.

T: I can't better that. I think that's one of the best one line reviews you've ever done. 7/10

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This Et Al - The Figure Eight EP (On The Bone Records) 28/04/2008

T: Incoherent nonsense that sounds exactly like iForward, Russia! and tries to be intense and exciting but fails dismally, which is a shame because I normally like this band.

N: I was certain you would find the positive seed in this ep; it's just a shame you didn't wait until "Medicine Hammer" before you made your final judgment.

T: True, I was being a tad hasty, but just slowing things down a bit to contrast the lead track does not a good song make. Or maybe I'm just still annoyed at your lukewarm reception to the White Denim single.

N: I think it would have helped had we provided more volume on the proceedings, and not worried so much about the cat's hearing.

T: He buggered off anyway. But hey, he's a clever cat, and he knows the RSPCA number off by heart. Not that he's ever had the cause to need it, I hasten to add. 6/10

web site - myspace

 
 

 

Phil Campbell - Maps (How I Feel About You) 21/04/2008

T: Musically akin to Neil Young's "Comes a Time" album, this is a bright and breezy tune that whilst inoffensive somehow lacks the emotional depth of the aforementioned genius and comes across as just a reasonable pop record.

N: An artist I first encountered through EMI has moved distribution to the Independent Safehouse Recordings, and might be considered as one of those who fell foul of the knife following the label's restructuring last year. From this, and what my colleague has formerly stated, it might be considered that Phil no longer fits the demographic they are now looking for. From this single, this is indeed niche. 6/10

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The Kabeedies - Lovers Ought To (Cherryade) 21/04/2008

T: Starts like the wimp-rock of the early eighties (and I'm using this term affectionately rather than as a journalistic attack) and then ends up sounding like a cross between X-Ray Spex and Amazulu. Maybe even Bow Wow Wow. A fun romp, basically.

N: In comparison to what we have been listening to, this band sound like, rather than playing through a Marshall Stack, they've had the transistor radio rigged up, so I guess that your reference to the earlier bands rings true. 7/10

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Dorp - Rollercoaster (Canned & Able ) 21/04/2008

N: A single taken from the band's forthcoming album, Dorp are described in the blurb that came along with this release as a "Politically astute, culturally diverse rock troupe...", well this ignored all you really need to concern yourself with at first contact is that this band certainly kick ass. What bode well here was that the single possesses an immediacy that will grab your attention, whilst containing an uncomfortable air that will draw the listener into the sound and require further investigation. The band's sound might be directed from the fact the line-up were borne from both Cape Town, Paris and London.

T: They remind me of a much harder version of the Gin Blossoms. That's probably more so on the verses than the tremendously uplifting chorus. All the same, it's an impressive new single. 8/10

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Kav - Blaggers n' Liars (This Feeling Records) 21/04/2008

T: Well, dorp was clearly your favourite single of the month. I have to say this is probably mine. Got a kind of early nineties vibe about it (though obviously I don't mean baggy or shoegazing). It's actually hard to pigeonhole and I like that. It's raw, it pulsates sleazily and presumably "Lizard King" is about Jim Morrison. Cracking single.

N: This artist hails from an illustrious past, touring on line ups with Guns 'n' Roses, James Brown and Bob Dylan, as well as work with Sonic Audio and more recently with Happy Mondays as guitarist and co-writer. This single is certainly heavy enough to fill the shoes of any of those previously noted, whilst hip enough to be taken seriously in its own right. 9/10

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Grant-Lee Phillips - Soft Asylum (No Way Out) 21/04/2008

N: Phillips has come a long way since his work under the moniker '...Buffalo', but this artist has lost none of his rare gift of producing music of the highest quality and this is no exception.

T: More balladic than his normal stuff, perhaps what Bryan Adams SHOULD sound like now, and certainly less "Fuzzy" than yesteryear, but yes, you've said it all. A relaxing summer tune. 7/10

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The Wolfmen - Needle In The Camel's Eye (Damaged Goods) 14/04/2008

Let's make this clear from the start, I love The Wolfmen. Not in love with them you understand, but this is a band that ever since I was introduced, following an email telling of a new band featuring Marco Pironi and a single produced by the deft fingers of Alan Moulder, I was smitten.

This may only be a cover version, but one done with a great deal of passion, so much so in fact the band have made it their own. Pironi working with Chris Constantinou (formerly Adam & the Ants and Iggy Pop) have crafeted a reworking of Brian Eno's 1973 track taken from his 'Here Come The Warm Jets' album. I'll be honest, not his most obscure work, but this track was ripe for a single reworking and it does, I mean to say, work.

It has been said that this band will "take you somewhere else musically..." and I cannot honestly disagree. Whether it be the combination of artist and producer, or what ever the hell it is, this is one band who's evergy and vigor craps out of my speakers. 9/10

web site - myspace

 
 

 

The Last Shadow Puppets - The Age Of Understatement (Domino) 14/04/2008

Well these sound like Arctic Monkeys, I thought, then desperately tried to dispell this offending thought, thinking myself sloppy,"just because the vocalist poseses a Northern accent shouldn't make them a 'dead ringer' for the Sheffield band fronted by Alex Turner". Then read the accompanying press release, in which it told of band whose debut single "The Age Of Understatement" was a wide-screen, bold and brilliant introduction to a band fronted by Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys! Oh, that's alright I thought, continuing to listen to the single whose sound was indeed wide-screen, bold and brilliant, all that's missing I thought was Clint Eastwood, wearing a poncho and smoking a cigar.

What I omitted to include, and this is a pretty important part, was that Alex had joined forces with David Axelrod formery of The Little Flames, a band Alex and the other Monkeys had formerly toured with and had become firm friends prior to forming The Last Shadow Puppets. Well an appreciation of the late lamented Scott Walker is clear enough to hear, in fact so much so that he may even eclipse that of Mr Eastwood. A wonderfully retro single, that whilst featuring the magic of Arctic Monkeys and Scott Walker is certainly strong enough to hold its ground among the other contenders due to be released this week. 9/10

Nick James

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Pushbike Army - Four From Alexandra Grove (A590 Records) 14/04/2008

A 3 piece hailing from Leeds, it is clear are niether the 4 refered to in the title, or perhaps those from Alexandra Groove, but what does that matter, these are the energetic indie/punk band refered to in the PR. What's more they posess an authenticity that will send a chill down the spine as you listen to their sparten sound and reel to the energy given off by their presentation. Hear for your self, this band have an ability that will be hard to match and are certainly one's to watch. 9/10

Nick James

web site - myspace

 
 

 

Royal Treatment Plant - Get Played (Light) 07/04/2008

T: Sounds like a less grungy version of Daisy Chainsaw, or a lighter version of Queen Adreena.

N: To be honest, singles wise, nothing's floated my boat this week. This included. 6/10

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Blood Red Shoes - Say Something, Say Anything (V2) 07/04/08

N: This is rather by numbers isn't it? Now the single has started, has this answered your question? You were musing as to whether we really liked this band last time or not...

T: Yes it has. I was wrong. It is, like you say, a formulaic indie rock song.

N: I think giving it the label "indie" might be overstating the point. It's used too freely these days. 5/10

web site - myspace

 
 

 

Grammatics - D.I.L.E.M.M.A. / Polar Swelling (Dance To The Radio) 07/04/2008

T: Not that it's had much competition, but this is one of the better singles we've heard today.

N: Atmospheric rock and with vocals not a million miles from Matt Bellamy.

T: It has to be said though, it doesn't exactly go anywhere does it? It's listenable...

N: I think that might be considered a little unfair; I'm liking how the darker backing is shaping up.

T: Meh. It was ok. 7/10

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The Presidents Of The United States Of America - Mixed Up S.O.B. (Cooking Vinyl) 07/04/2008

T: They used to be such fun, the Prezzies, but for some reason they seem to have taken lessons from Sum 41 in songwriting. Not a wise move.

N: Predictable college rock from this band checking out the latest influx. 3/10

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Semifinalists - Odd Situation (Young and Lost Club) 07/04/2008

N: It seems fairly resigned that this band only consider themselves the "almost buts"; we waited with bated breath to find out if we were right...

T: ...and then realised that they sound like the Blow Monkeys.

N: The Blow Monkeys?! Without Dr. Robert, no band can consider themselves the Blow Monkeys, although stuck somewhere on the 1980s peninsular, this band are playing it safe.

T: Boring bastards. 6/10

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iForward, Russia! - Breaking, Standing (Cooking Vinyl) 07/04/2008

T: A surprisingly limp return to the fray by the former Dance To The Radio outfit. It sounds like Kele Okereke trembling in fear and ultimately arrives somewhere in the middle of the road.

N: I'm not entirely sold. If what you were saying was, in fact, that this single fails to fully materialise, then I guess we agree. 5/10

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IAMX - The Alternative (Fiction) 03/04/2008

T: Muse set to a dance beat. Proggy and pompous, and not very inspiring.

N: I hadn't realised that IAMX had featured Chris Corner, late of the Sneaker Pimps. Perhaps this experience may have spoiled my memory of said band, but certainly high on production and studio effect. It has been suggested that perhaps a band more to be experienced than just heard. Admittedly I can hear that in the sound, I feel though this might be omitted in your consideration. 6/10

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Elliot Minor - Parallel Worlds (Repossession Records) 07/04/2008

T: This has already been in the charts once. It was rubbish then and it's rubbish now.

N: Actually, it's skipping. I think even the CD player has its reservations.

T: Good. It only lasted 3 seconds. 1/10

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Helen Boulding - Way To Go (Maid In Sheffield) 07/04/2008

T: I feel a bit sorry for Helen. We seem to review something by her almost every week, and we never like it. Again, this sounds like The Corrs. Or Texas, if you want to go really below the belt. Surely you don't even need to comment do you?

N: Not especially. 4/10

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