Single Reviews: July 2005


Maximo Park – Going Missing (Warp) 18/07/2005

The one thing that I love the most about Maximo Park is that they sound so quintessentially English. There is none of this “aspiring to sound American” that can be found in so many of today’s British act – these boys are Geordies and they’re proud of it.

I’m glad they chose to release this track as a single; it contains some of my favourite lyrics from “A Certain Trigger”, the band’s marvellous debut album and is actually rather touching: “I sleep with my hands across my chest and I think of you with someone else” – this is a place we’ve ALL been to and, as frontman Paul Smith himself said in this month’s interview, that’s why Maximo Park hold such tremendous appeal.

The funny thing is, on first play it doesn’t seem anything special at all, but the more you play it, the more you fall in love with it and realize that it really is a superb track. Splendid. 9/10

Tone E

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The Answer - Keep Believin' (Albert Productions) 11/07/2005

T: Ireland's answer (sorry!) to The Who's timeless rock opera "Tommy"? It definitely brings to mind long hair, extremely flared trousers and Woodstock. We haven't really had anyone recently to champion the prog-rock sound of the early seventies, but these guys are staunchly resurrecting the genre.

N: This could easily be Led Zeppelin, or more accurately Robert Plant especially, and the fac that The Darkness chose the then unsigned band to open for them at the Brixton Academy is power to their abilities as musicians. I agree that this is a strong presentation and trip back 30 years. It really is that competent, and with the single comprising 4 original tunes, value for money at that. 7/10

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Sugarshak – Sunshine Days (Eminence) 11/07/2005

Big room, cinematic house, swollen with bass and atmospheric flanging sweeps, this is one for the summer season for sure. Great horn sample gives it a really summery feel, as the name suggests its one for the hot days and warm nights!!! Good remixes available! 9/10

Nic Caesar



Clor - Outlines (Regal) 11/07/2005

T: Perhaps not as instant as their previous offering - the glorious "Love and Pain", but still a pretty effective slice of musical dementia. This is my second slice of Clor pie and it's not given me indigestion yet.

N: Shades of The Sparks in the simplicity of the arrangements, and the apparent prehistoric electronic backing. A grower, rather than the immediate impact of their last release. 8/10

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Idlewild - El Capitan (EMI / Parlophone) 11/07/2005

T: One of Idlewild's better moments, and I have very fond memories of the first time I heard it, since Steve Lamacq followed it on his Radio One show recently with the Atomicduster championed band Elle Milano's "La Presidente". Of course, this went slightly against Roddy's boys, because the latter pissed all over the former effortlessly, but it WAS a worthy b-movie to the Leicester based Reading trio's main feature.

N: A thumping stadium number, but as is shown here by the acoustic reworking, can be adapted to fill a seventeenth century dinner party just as easily. Whether they had...

T: ...the Plague at the time...

N: open to question. And don't forget kids - turn the lights out and don't leave those cigarettes burning...unless you HAVE got the Plague... 7/10

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Speed Circus - Banditos Casino (Lily Adventures) 04/07/2005

T: Apparently this Sheffield sextet can proudly boast that they "don't really sound like anyone else". That's funny, because if you stumbled into a busy pub where the late Joe Strummer was playing darts with Dodgy, it would undoubtedly sound like this...

N: Even "Squirrel and G-man" was better kept than these guys at presenting themselves. It's like a group of guys rolling in at three o'clock in the morning after a night on the tiles and hitting "record", but funnily enough, the more I listen, the more I'm growing fond of this ramshackle bunch.

T: And then, "Rise and Fall" era Madness drunkenly swagger in for "Dead Fred the Dread" whilst the Damned also turn up for the lock-in on "Hey Mister". Can't fault those influences though - it all makes a pretty impressive debut. 8/10

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Tiefschwarz – Wait & See (Fine) 04/07/2005

Germanys boys of electro are back with a new album and single. As we have come to expect from these guys its good, very good! Tough beats, atmospheric production and great lyrical and melodic hooks abound.

Remixes from Alter Ego(Roman Flugel again) and Gucci Soundsystem! 8/10

Nic Caesar



Tsar - Band-Girls-Money (TVT Records) 04/07/2005

T: Tsar seem to hail from that caveman school of thought previously occupied by Motley Crue, where women only exist for sexual favours and doing the ironing, and their equivalent to a monthly health plan is a four week cocaine binge. It's not all straight "rawk" music though - I imagine if they turned up in Spandex trousers at their gigs they'd be lost in a barrage of bottles of piss that their punkier fans have strewn at them.

N: Funnily enough, reading the PR that came along with this, it made reference to almost everyone else, but failed to cite the influence that I heard in the music - that of Generation X. This sounds the crossover of Glam meets Punk.

T: Perfect analogy. Not 100 per cent my bag, but the boys show promise anyway. 6/10

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iLIKETRAiNS - Before The Curtains Close (dance_to_the_radio) 04/07/2005

T: I like trains too, but if MY train went this slow, I think I'd complain. Having said that, it's got a dsitinctly Divine Comedy overtone to it - rather like "National Express" played at 16 RPM. Going through the tunnels would be a pretty creepy experience too with these guys. You know all about entering tunnels Nick. What do YOU think?

N: I thought we'd said we'd never talk about that again! But certainly, melodies played in a minor key can leave you asking what it's all worth. How Neil Hannon might sound if playing to Nick Cave's orchestra. Part two, I felt, had something about it that drew me into the music more than part one. But playing them backwards would sound really silly. Tone, YOU'RE an expert on playing games backwards. What do YOU think?

T: Hang on - you're right! Let's give it a go! (Tone plays CD backwards, Sgt.Pepper style...crackle... crackle...I....Rogered...Nick...crackle...crackle) there something you have to tell us Nick?)

N: Moving on.... 7/10

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Roisin Murphy - If We're In Love (Echo) 04/07/2005

T: Moloko's frontwoman released her debut solo album in mid-June, and this is the first single proper to be taken from it. It's a pity, in a way, because that album is so innovative and fresh and I personally like every other track on it better than this one. There's no doubt that this is by far the most commercial track on it though, and presumably that's why it's been put out. Rather like a seventies Motown record set to a subtle electronicaa backdrop, this is certainly a catchy tune but do yourselves a favour - buy the album instead.

N: I like Roisin's presentation here. In this case, she's singing from the point of view of seventies funkadelic (I guess what you were saying with Motown meets electronica). Not a million miles from Moloko, but instead of the music and voice competing for centre stage, she's definitely in control here, with the music offering support. So I guess we agree on this one.

T: I do like the desperation in the lyric "If we're in love, we should make love", rather like a curious schoolgirl who's gagging for it and not getting the goods from her Sunday School boyfriend. I must stress I'm NOT speaking from experience here... 6/10

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Branded - Hard Times/Something Missing (Narcotix Inc.) 04/07/2005

N: An easy swaggre is adopted by those gathered on the dancefloor, their heads bobbing gently in time by the thumping reggae offered up by Carlton Brodin aka Branded, and his debut release, "Hard Times". This is a simply awesome piece of music from an artist who has, to his credit, both performed and written with the likes of Lee "Scarcth" Perry, Rod Ricco, Maccabee and The Mad Professor to name a few. Easily accessible to all, this music is a modern take on classic British reggae topped up with the taste of seventies British Ska, and it will leave your soul cleansed.

T: I disagree. I think it's rubbish.

N: You've not heard it.

T: Good point. 8/10

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DJ Format – Separated at Birth (Genuine/Pias) 27/06/2005

I’m a big fan of DJ Format as a producer; the jazzy beats and funky melodies are a perpetual pleasure! This release sees him teaming up with his usual rap duo of D-Cisive and Abdominal. Not the biggest fan of their rap style but this works well. 7/10

Nic Caesar

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Fatboy Slim – Don’t let the man & Mi bebe Masoquista (Skint) 27/06/2005

The man is back with a superbly memorable offering. In true ‘Fatboy’ style he has taken an old sample and turned it in to a contemporary work of art. Its inferences are subtle and open for interpretation and on the face of its just a well put together track. So it appeals to a wide audience, is well produced and has a deeper element if you look for it! Classic Fatboy! Good to see he is not just trying to cash in this time! Released 27th June. The other track included, as above, is great too but I want you to discover that one for yourselves - a sure underground and overground hit! 9/10

Nic Caesar

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The Juan Maclean – Tito’s Way (EMI/DFA) 20/06/2005

Dirty, raw and cutting edge sounds here! Some punk influences thread through it as do most DFA releases, which is a great thing. Not commercially accessible which is what I like to see, superb fit for progressively minded clubs and DJ’s!!! 8/10

Nic Caesar

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TDR – Smoked Out/Thorax (PIAS/Different) 25/06/2005

This 12” release due out on the 18th July is class, mates!
It is tough, dark and funky electro house that builds and builds! Has a touch of the dogs Balearics about it and for this years Ibiza crowd, it’s already sure to be a favourite!!! The hook will be one that takes you back to hot nights of summers past! 9/10

Nic Caesar

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The Hacker – Radiation (remixes) (Different/Pias) 20/06/2005

The 2nd single to be taken from the album ‘Reves Mechanique’ this is dark electro noir at its best. Driving, funky beats with elusive electro melodies that weave in and out, creating an elongated crescendo of sound. A big club favourite with remixes by David Carreta and The Hacker himself. 8/10

Nic Caesar



The Real Tuesday Weld – Terminally ambivalent over you (Pias) 13/06/2005

Taken from the album, I Lucifer, this is the latest single from the critically acclaimed Clerkenwell Kid. A friendly jaunt with country style banjo and trotting drums that ride happily with the melodies. The video is great produced by Alex Budovsky, perhaps best known for the animation on the current Lucosade advert! An intellectual and accessible release that will find a home in a large variety of cd collections. 8/10

Nic Caesar

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Roman Flugel – Geht’s Noch (Skint) 06/06/2005

This one has been floating around for while and is a great example of top quality tough and dirty house that will bury itself deep into your mind. The production is simple and effective. It doesn’t have the scale of soundscape as some more commercial tracks but the piercing repetitive hook will do the job for sure. Four good remixes available, check it out! 8/10

Nic Caesar



The Blendcrafters – Melody (Remix) feat MF Doom (Genuine/Pias) 30/05/2005

A 12” release due out 20th June this will become a favourite for all hip hop/breaks djs. This includes the title track with four versions and a Blendcrafters remix of Eddie Harris’s ‘Bold and Black’. Genius is the best word I can use to describe this track. Taken from the Blendcrafters Vol 1 Album DJ Numark and Pomo have created a classic of its kind! Jazzy, funky and fresh! 10/10

Nic Caesar


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