Single Reviews: June 2003


All Systems Go - Tell Vicky (Bad Taste)

ASG are an American / Canadian four piece and have been described as the Stooges meets Limp Bizkit meets Skid Row.

T: I don't really like slagging bands off, especially when their music is an inoffensive as this. However I have a slight problem here, as All Systems Go have made a single here which I find completely predictable and totally uninspiring. It may as well have been Busted.

N: To my ears, this is trying to be emo-rock. Might be well placed in the trite college movies that do the rounds about this time of year. I agree. Although they've done nothing wrong, as you say, this is totally uninspiring. 3/10

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Skin - Trashed (EMI)

Skunk Anansie's smooth headed frontwoman's debut stab at a solo single.

T: Aside from the unmistakable vocals, this is a far cry from the Skunkers' music. I hope she doesn't steer too far from her roots though. I'd hate to see her playing at the next Royal Variety performance.

N: This was always going to be SA minus their caustic edge, it was always Skin that was the icing on the cake here. It just remains to be seen if the buying community accept her sensitive side with open arms. Nice, but I regret to say it really didn't move me.

T: I thought it was so "nice" it ended up being dull. 4/10



DJ Chrome - Who's Crying Now (Perfecto Records)
Originally unleashed to the world in Miami at the winter music conference this track has a release date of June 2nd. DJ Chrome aka Space Cowboy has been penned 'Fatboy Slims Protege' and certainly brings a similar Fatboy quality to this track.
Parisian born, DJ Chrome displays typical french panache with a melodic romantic vocal and crowd freindly production. Several mixes are supplied the original being a tight production of piano riffs and funky basslines, very bar and radio freindly. The Terpsichord remix takes it a to a more basic level and adds a slightly tougher tone. This is the more interesting mix for me. The Funk Freaks remix is a happy, piano loop heavy, disco tune. Nice!
I would be surprised if this wasnt a big summer tune and crossed over into the mainstream charts well. 6/10

Nic Caesar

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Cagedbaby - Star/Berlin (Southern Fried Records)
Out on the 26th of May this is a very interesting couple of tracks. Recently signed producer Tom Gandey a.k.a. Cagedbaby is classically trained but has a penchant for electronica. These two tracks a very similar in mood and style but very different in terms of content.
Star is a melow spacey jaunt mixing effected vocals with funky breaks and floaty gospel synths. The track builds to a crescendo of looped vocals, static flashes and even horns and jazzy piano tricklings! Very good production welds all these many elements into a melodic and tuneful mid tempo track.
The B side, Berlin is another atmospheric effort with Bowiesque vocals, electronic pulses, pianos synths etc. Held together by a funky two step breakbeat, the tune drops into moody, spacey reflections and then builds again.
Not my usual tipple but I like it a lot. Album due at the end of the year with tour dates over the summer to be announced soon. Will keep you informed. 7/10

Nic Caesar

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Marascia - Shake it (Southern Fried Records)
This guy has a successful track record of quality remixes for labels such as Strictly Rhythm and artists/producers like Todd Terry and Richie Hawtin. This track has already been licenced to the labels in the US, Spain, Greece and France and I now know why!
This is a quality tune. Superb female punk vocals over a funky latin blend of drums and bass. Three mixes supplied, the original version is top notch but it really is just a platform for the boys from Mutiny to build on. The dub version highlights a great remix of the original elements but adds a new bassline and a few other tweaks. Combine these with the sexy vocal on the B side with the Mutiny Funk mix and you have a seriously tasty tune. Will get a lot of play from a variety of DJs including myself.
Out on the 2nd of June, an essential buy for intelligent funky house fans! 9/10

Nic Caesar

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Hard-ons - Sunny (Bad Taste)

Fans of this band include such luminaries as Iggy Pop and Dave Grohl, and they have just released a new album entitled "Very Exciting".

T: So how excited are you about this band then Nick?

N: That chug-chug-chug of their guitars, the expectant sight of summer and gallons of lukewarm beer, the Hard-ons are undoubtedly a festival band and I have no doubt that they do this very well.

T: Although if I'm being completely honest here, that would be the only occasion I would bother to watch them. Their punk-grunge would suit that environment very well. It's just that if I went to see that at one of the local fleapit venues I think they'd find it harder to make a decent impression. 5/10

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Alexis Strum - Addicted (Warner Music)
I'm sorry but this just left me cold. Pop music with no real individuality. I have heard the same before a million times in other pop releases. Reminicsent of 'Girls Aloud' manufactured pop music. Ok for 15 year old girls maybe but not my bag at all!!
Her press release indicates serious musical talent having co writing credits with the likes of Ed Case and she does have a great singing voice but this is just plastic throw away music!
The other tracks on the CD are pretty much the same bar 'Still Standing' which only stands out as it sounds similar to previous Prince ( or the 'symbol' or whatever) productions.
Naff! 2/10

Nic Caesar

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Sean Paul - Get Busy (Atlantic Records)
A popular dancehall/pop record getting masses of plays from radio and urban DJs alike. His second release to do well so no doubt we will be hearing more from Mr Paul. 6/10

Nic Caesar

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I Am Kloot - Life In a Day (The Echo Label)

Following the strictly limited edition single "Untitled" single, "Life In a Day" is the first proper release to be lifted from the Manchester trio's forthcoming eponymous second album.

N: I've got a feeling about this one, at times it burns...and the rash, oh the rash. Sorry that's for the doctor this afternoon. Back on planet earth, I Am Kloot, heard good things about these guys, and when you take the medicine it feels so good.

T: It has a distinctly Beatles type feel - and I mean a Harrison type Beatles feel rather than the standard Lennon / McCartney one, mixed with maybe a little Iggy and I think it's safe to say that it urinates from a great height over everything else we've reviewed so far today.

N: Yeah, when you consider that drama, flair and innovative sound production all feature on this single, that might be more aptly described a "micro-album". 9/10

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The Burn - Big Blue Sky (Hut)

The second single from the band's debut album "Sally O'Mattress".

T: Is it just me or did that single just pass us by without actually making any impression whatsoever?

N: They certainly have style these guys, I can see why they were signed though. "Hut" would have appeared to have been looking for another Verve to fill the void they left upon their departure from the industry, and the Burn just happened to land on their table. Nice as they are, it should be noted that these guys are NOT the Verve. 5/10

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Shy FX and T Power feat. Kelly Le Roc - Feelin U (London Records)
Top quality drum and bass featuring the guest vocalist of the moment Kelly Le Roc. Funky, driven, energetic tunage, with A1 vocals. Has had massive following in d&b circles and has crossed over well in to the mainstream. A second release from this pairing. More please gentlemen! 8/10

Nic Caesar

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International Pony feat. Stepchild - Hanging Around 03 (Skint Records)
This german trio have no real genre boundaries and this, their first release from their album 'We love music', gives you more than a hint of this.
A blend of funk/soul/hiphop to name a few, it is a classic summer party tune. Motown strings, a funky r&b bassline, urban scratching and catchy hip hop/soul vocals.
Get your mates round for a bar-b and a few beers, stick this track on and you wont notice that the sun still hasnt come out!! Released 9th June. 8/10

Nic Caesar



Placebo - This Picture (Hut)

Following "The Bitter End", this is the second single to be taken from the band's "Sleeping With Ghosts" album. Placebo have proved to be one of the UK's strongest exports of 2003 so far with sales in excess of 600,000 within three weeks of release and the album reached number one in both Belgium and Greece.

N: Only two? My impression is that Molko and co seem to be pumping them out, but how different do you think this is from their last?

T: Er...totally different to be honest. When I first played the album I thought it was the standout track and was begging to be released. I don't think it sounds even remotely like "The Bitter End". Maybe there's a vague similarity to "Slave To The Wage" but to me it's just another excellent indie pop single.

N: It wasn't that I was being detrimental. These guys just always seem to be there. That's no bad thing, when you're writing music to a consistent quality, and waving the flag for worthwhile music. 8/10

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Tahiti 80 - Soul Deep (Atmospheriques)

T: So wake up Boo. There's so many things for us to do...

N: You're right, but this isn't plagiarism - just an unfortunate placing of a familiar phrasing.

T: Yep, and I agree with your comment on our album review when you compared the band with Jamiroquai. There's no getting away from it really.

N: But listening to this in isolation, I prefer what the Council Collective did in their "Soul Deep".

T: Why do you always listen to things in isolation? Shouldn't you be getting out more?

N: I have all I need at my right hand thank you very much. 6/10

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Goldfrapp - Train (Mute)

T: I can see why you wanted to review this from the DVD...!

N: I told you I had everything at my right hand, my cup of tea, my remote control and...

T: Enough!! On second thoughts, stick it back on again will you?

N: A single of sleaze and wild audio stage. Alison puts across a good case for the prosecution in her lazy hazy vocal. That the video puts an even stronger one across is inconsequential.

T: (vaguely) Yeah, yeah, whatever. Stick it back on again will you? 7/10

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Jamelia Feat. Rah Digga - Bout (Parlophone)
This young, sassy r&b trooper is back with a new release and and album coming soon. Having recently supported Justin Timberlake with his UK tour, this release gives you a flavour of what is to come.
Sampling the horns from the 'Rocky' theme, this military style, 2 step track will get many plays from all r&b/urban djs. This Mobo award winning lady of soul is well and truly back!  Released June 9th. 7/10

Nic Caesar

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Macy Gray - When I see you (Epic)
Typical Macy Gray, disappears from the scene to return with yet another classic r&b tune.
Great raunchy, smooth vocals decorate this funky, anthem-esque track. A real party tune or one for the lady or man in your life, a happy and joyful celebration!
It speak for itself so I wont say any more! 9/10

Nic Caesar



The Hidden Cameras - A Miracle (Rough Trade)

A fifteen strong ensemble led by the impossibly charismatic Joel Gibb, this band have already created a frenzy of excitement in their native Toronto.

T: It is testament to the strength of the label that I looked at this before playing it and thought "Great. A Rough Trade release". And I'm not disappointed either, this is a single which says to me "Summer's here. Let's have a party, stay up all night and maybe get laid a few times". Certainly the best effort from a Canadian band I have heard in some time.

N: I like the use of orchestration, but that's at the close. They seem to have remembered what it takes to make a good single, and this one is extremely catchy. It reminds me of another, but that really has no bearing. 9/10

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Broadcast - Pendulum EP (Warp)

A six track taster of tunes created at their home studio in Birmingham, "Pendulum" precedes Broadcast's new album "Haha Sound" due for release in August.

T: What do you reckon? An electronic version of Lush?

N: Mmm, I like this, but I'll tell you what the opening reminds me of - "Ring a ringa roses, a pocketful of posies, atishoo atishoo we all fall down". Kids nursery rhymes, the band's done good in their composition.

T: So what you're getting at here, and don't get me wrong because I like it too, but what you're getting that kids' nursery rhymes?

N: We've all been there mate, but if not Lush, certainly the extremely alternative from around that time.

T: And the third track, "One Hour Empire" sounds like it could be incidental music from sixties weirdout tv series "The Prisoner". You just can't fault that. 7/10

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Katastrophy Wife - Liberty Belle (Integrity)

Ex-Babes In Toyland member Kat Bjelland returns with a different outfit after turning down a role in Courtney Love's new band. This is the first single to be taken from the forthcoming album.

N: Now here's a reminder - Driving Miss Daisy across America to catch the latest grunge ridden offering from Kat. Not that far removed from anything around here, and VERY Babes In Toyland. I ask myself the question though, why would she need Courtney Love to reignite her career? But can you detect B-52's on acid on the third track?

T: The third track being quite an ugly remix by Bis of the main single. I actually think the single itself is a wildly manic tune that you would just HAVE to play at full volume in your car with the windows wound down while everyone shouted "Tosser" at you. It's great. 8/10

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Gus Gus - Call of the Wild (Underwater)
Its seems this label can do no wrong at the moment. A great release with three superb mixes. 
The Sam La More 'G'day mate edit' is a zesty house track with Moloko/Bjork style vocals, very funky! The original version is more a deep, laid back affair with industrial sounds and flangey synths. And finally the Josh Wink remix is a nice, more progressive sounding track with his inevitable 'winkness' dropped in for good measure! 8/10

Nic Caesar



Moco - Miss Mantaray (Poolside)

This is the follow up to the NME Single of the Week "Where She Goes".

T: I don't think I really need to give you a diverse range of artists that I think this band sound like. I reckon I just simply need to say The Strokes.

N: In isolation this is a charged single deserving of classic status. It rocks, it moves - you're right, it sounds exactly like the Strokes, but perhaps they're from a parallel universe where The Strokes sound exactly like them. But I think not.

T: Well they could do worse than follow in Casablancas' steps, being the one group worthy of all the fuss that was made of them last year. But back to you being back in isolation again....

N: Look, we've discussed my right hand. You wouldn't let it lie would you? 7/10

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Dave Gahan - Dirty Sticky Floors (Mute)

Written by Gahan and Knox Chandler, and produced by Ken Thomas, "Dirty Sticky Floors" is "an intoxicating glimpse of rock's seamy underbelly".

N: Oh goody. "Dirty Sticky Floors". Just what I've been waiting for. It's the suit to fit my mood, and hell, my personality.

T: It's funny that I said that the album sounds nothing like Depeche Mode, because this actually sounds very much like it could be one of the band's better single releases. It sounds how you'd expect a song with this title to sound. Is that a fair comment?

N: Incredibly fair. You can tell that this guy's an industry stalwart to release such a fantastic single on your solo debut.

T: And in isolation?

N: Funnily enough "Barrel of a Gun" possessed that air, but this definitely not. 9/10

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Athlete - Westside (Parlophone)

A top twenty album and critical acclaim aplenty. They've even won over our own writer Mattyp. It just remains to be seen whether they can finally impress Nick and Tone...

T: Right, I'm going to try not to mention David Essex this time. I will of course be mentioning Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel though. Athlete would have been huge in the seventies.

N: Where I credited the Hidden Cameras with realising the ability to write a good single, Athlete have done the same to great effect. Won me over? This is great.

T: Their best single to date anyway. 8/10



Superhero - Stars (SH1 Music / Fierce Dist)

Apparently this Glaswegian four piece's new single "Stars" is one that "boasts a fatal infection of glass half-full melodies and bottle half-empty attitude".

T: I love these kinds of basslines. Akin to the bass on Smashing Pumpkins' "1979" single, and it gives you a feeling of being cosy indoors whilst it's pouring with rain outside. Then again, maybe that's because we're cosy indoors while it's pouring with rain outside. What does it matter? This is one hell of a single. Ballsy stuff that gives you a pleasant tingly feeling.

N: A band offering great impact with their compositions and songwriting ability. Dare I say Muse? Well this group give us a presentation that is perfectly crafted and hopefully the start of good things to come. 10/10



Ok Go - Don't Ask Me (Capitol)

Chicago four piece OK Go return to th UK in June to coincide with this, the new single from their album.

N: In search of a good time? Then look no further than this quartet, who write so music full of optimism it can't fail to raise a smile.

T: It does remind me of a sped up and beefed up version of "Don't Stand So Close To Me" though...

N: Oh my God. I think it's time for your medication now. 7/10

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The Darkness - Growing On Me (Must Destroy Music)

Preceding their band's appearance at Donington this year, here is the band's new single for our delectation.

T: A typical rock single that, at times, sounds like vocalist Justin Hawkins has had a hockey stick shoved sharply and suddenly up his backside.

N: This is bizarre. Strap that air guitar around your neck, pull that frilly shirt out of your dad's wardrobe and sport those comedy lips (a la Mick Jagger). Then fall about laughing as Hawkins attempts a falsetto. Darkness? I'm bloody blind. Should this be a comedy record? 4/10 although if it IS a comedy record, it's a nine.

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Manitoba - Jacknuggeted (The Leaf Label ltd)

T: This song's a bit like going for a walk. It takes quite a while, but you visit some pretty scenery along the way, and when you reach your destination, you decide to go to the pub.

N: Coming from a place that's altogether quite obscure, as has been inferred before this isn't so much a single; more a journey. I'm thinking Porcupine Tree, not for any musical similarity necessarily, but just that this is so far out of whack, it's beautiful. The sky has most definitely moved sideways where this is concerned. 8/10

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Kurtis Mantronix presents Chamonix - How did you know (Southern Fried Records)
Basically this  is the '77 Strings' track from last year which was very big, back as 'How did you know' and featuring a nice vocal overlay from Mim. Top quality disco - edged house. The vocal works and the tune we already know is big, so there you go! 8/10

Nic Caesar

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