Single Reviews: August 2007


Darkwater - 1920 (unsigned) 27/08/2007

N: This was a band we first encountered with their last single, 'Easy Weakness/Alone And...', a number I think we both considered a little thin on the production side. This new single however is more like a case of Goldfrapp meets Nine Inch Nails. This is a less polite, more in your face attempt at the darker side of music. Crunching guitars and electronic chords greet the listener in a seedy number that I'd be inclined to agree is better than the earlier reviewed.

T: It's a decent tune this time around, and talking of nine inch nails, the lesbo-erotic video makes me enjoy it twice as much. 7/10

web site - myspace



Black Francis - Captain Pasty (Cooking Vinyl) 27/08/2007

T: I am jumping around the room in an ecstatic fit, because Frank Black has metamorphosed into his former self, Black Francis, to create a plethora of brilliant tunes close to that of his seminal band the Pixies. This is another of those beauties. A hydraulic trashing of the last 15 years and a violently exciting romp through nearly two and a half minutes of utter genius.

N: When Black Francis comes into the room (or more prcisely, onto the hi-fi), it's more than Tone's ears that ignite. I bow to his greater knowledge here, but this IS a cracking tune. 10/10

web site - myspace



Omar - Sing (Put Record Label) 27/08/2007

T: There's nothing like this, is there?

N: Well if you're referring to badly recorded, badly mixed music, then actually there is quite a lot really.

T: You're not a fan then? I don't actually think it's THAT bad for what it is - a feelgood summer tune, but it certainly doesn't reach the heady heights of the song he's best known for, the one I parodied in my opening gambit. I doubt it'll dent my end of year top 10000 though...

N: I've seen lettuce, six weeks past its shelf date that shows greater promise. 4/10

web site - myspace



The Actual - This Is The Worst Day Of The Rest Of My Life (Download only) 20/08/2007

T: Adolescent tantrum throwing emo kids moaning about all and sundry. I think that just about says it all. It sounds like Sum 41 throwing a hissyfit.

N: I was, however, encouraged as I walked through the door of this number. Alarmingly though, it descended into what my colleague has already described...

T: The pits of hell. 4/10

web site - myspace



Kaiser Chiefs - The Angry Mob (Polydor) 20/08/2007

N: A great song from an even greater album, but I feel that these are a band that are suffering from over exposure. Perhaps they should disappear to a commune somewhere in India to extingush the appathy I'm currently feeling.

T: Still, this new single is further proof that "Ruby" was indeed the weakest track on the album. It's rather like Madness circa the pinnacle of their career, "The Rise And Fall" and is a splendidly dark tune bursting with energy. 8/10

web site - myspace



Soho Dolls - Right & Right Again (Label) 20/08/2007

N: The single that precedes the release of the group's debut album 'Ribbed Music For The Numb Generation' and one that keeps up their highly sexed presentation. Their fizzy sound is one that lurks into Alison Goldfrapp territory as far as their music goes. Heck, the girls look good too.

T: Bloody thief, that was my reference. Ah well, all that's left for me to say is that Jesse Rose's remix is alarmingly similar to Mr. Oizo's "Flat Beat". It's all entertaining stuff anyway. 7/10

web site - myspace



Shiny Toy Guns - Rainy Monday (Mercury) 20/08/2007

N: Are the NME both deaf and blind? They apparently said that this band sounded like New Order fronted by Brigitte Bardot. They sound nothing like New Order, and unless Brigitte Bardot had vocal surgery in her later life, why would she want to sound like Chad Petree?

T: Well, she might do so if she was feeling a bit bored...

N: I hope she's had her board tagged, because a lot of them are being stolen recently. This is still a half-hearted pop song.

T: I'm in total agreement. This is like a less interesting version of Snow Patrol. 5/10

web site - myspace



Maximo Park -- Girls Who Play Guitars (Warp Records) 20/08/2007

T: This track was one of the reasons I deemed "Our Earthly Pleasures" as such a success. It breeds a nostalgic quality that is easily embraced and makes an immediate impact upon the listener. Probably my favourite track on the album.

N: I think there is no doubting this band's credentials when it comes to writing songs with catchy hooks. 9/10

web site - myspace



Operator Please - Just A Song About Ping Pong (Brille Records) 20/08/2007

T: Daisy Chainsaw fed through a pop processing machine. I can't deny that it's insanely catchy but one that could well begin to grate on you after the first few listens.

N: I can't say it's immediately infectious to me, but there is no doubting this band's bare faced cheek. Achieving an immediate number one position in the NME club charts, Record OfThe Week on BBC 6Music and Zane Lowe's "fresh meat" for Radio One, let's see if further releases manage to keep the momentum going. 7/10

web site - myspace



Tunng - Bricks (Full Time Hobby) 13/08/2007

N: Dare I say, as they open up, Gomez?

T: Haha, yes I was thinking the same thing, as this track begins exactly like "Whippin' Piccadilly", but then goes on to the more established brand of electro-folk we've come to know and love Tunng for. A good taster for the band's forthcoming album "Good Arrows". 8/10

web site - myspace



The Zico Chain - Anaemia (Hassle) 13/08/2007

T: There's something appealing about this band that's difficult to put your finger on. All at once they are Motorhead entering into a spot of debauchery with Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction and their groupies, whilst somehow providing a pop element not too far removed from The Almighty or even Van Halen. It's unquestionably nothing new, but you wanna rock? Then look no further than the Zico Chain.

N: I disagree. Three bands have been mentioned in the PR that accompanies this release - those of the aforementioned Motorhead, QOTSA and The White Stripes, and for a band who this year opened at Download, I'm rather disappointed. I find this a rather sad indictment of what rock music has become, as this band are not a patch on their heroes. Three very diferent and - well, shall we say - Gods of the genre. I would be interested to see, however, how this band develop throughout their career. I'd like them to attain that status, but just now I can't see it. 6/10

web site - myspace

Buy: 7"


The Pigeon Detectives - Take Her Back (Dance To The Radio) 13/08/2007

T: I find it highly amusing that the new single from the piggydees' perfect pop album is one that is rather akin to Leeds answer to Chas and Dave. I can just imagine everyone having a good old knees up to this number. Anyway it's great fun, as is the rest of their album, and should provide them with their 4th consecutive top 40 hit in what has been an astonishing 12 months for the band.

N: Kinda like the same - very now and well fills the blueprint of 2005, 6 and 7. Did someone say Arctic Monkeys? Well that'll be me then.

T: I admit this particular track is reminiscent of the aforementioned band but that's a pity, as that belies the sound of the rest of a very good debut album. 8/10

web site - myspace

Buy: CD


Circuits - Young Enough Not To Care (Try Science!) 13/08/2007

N: Early Police from the ska reggae with a punk edge that this number falls into, quite unexpectedly from what is offered at the start. Refreshing, and a number I'm willing to accept (I'll change the broken box with that of the forthcoming Dot Allison release).

T: It's not a bad release; there's definitely some potential there anyway. Can't say I'm bowled over by it, but it sounds energetic and passionate enough to suggest the band has a bright future. 7/10

web site - myspace

Buy: CD


Jacknife Lee - Making Me Money (Fiction) 13/08/2007

T: Jacknife Lee has come a long way since his "Aloha Satellite Special" release several years ago, and has gone on to produce U2, Snow Patrol and the Editors amongst others. His CV is an impressive one, and it's interesting to note that he is unwilling to write a press release to promote either his single or album, instead saying "I don't see why it's necessary, You'll listen (or not) and if you need facts to reinforce an opinion you can Google/Wikipedia it up" and citing the reason that "musicians are rarely interesting when talking about their own work and music journalism is not at its grandest peak". With this in mind, I will continue his DIY ethos and just say it's a very good record. What more do you need to know?

N: I know where he's coming from somewhat...

T: Look at us for instance...

N: Exactly. Alabama 3 for a chemical generation. 8/10

web site - myspace

Buy: CD


Simone White - The American War (Honest Jon's Records) 13/08/2007

N: Oh dear, the girl's disillusioned, "did you ever think that this was the greatest country in the world...", well a collection of poignant lyrics go to make up this layered number where the artist has put together a very clever song with music that blossoms in a wonderful light. Tone, your thoughts, have you remembered your reference yet?

T: I've been writing for the site for 7 years now. Do you STILL need a reference?

N: Not particularly, I already know what they're going to say.

T: So, to the review, her music is really quite similar to any number of female solo artists - vocally she reminds me of Dido, Bird, Kate Walsh and Polly Paulusma in equal measure. This mellow brand of pop doesn't excite me in any way, but it's at the very least intelligent, as you say. 6/10

web site - myspace



Look See Proof - Casualty (Weekender Records) 06/08/2007

T: One of Steve Lamacq's favourite debut singles of the year, Look See Proof have released a decent pop tune but it has to be said that they sound EXACTLY like The Enemy.

N: Another terribly generic tune then, but yet again I prefer the B-side "Between Here And There". What is going on? 6/10


Buy: 7"


Assembly Now - Graphs Maps & Trees (Kids) 06/08/2007

N: Is this Feargal Sharkey's new band?

T: Hmmm, I'm not sure that joke's gona work mate. Don't forget that you and I are both anoraks when it comes to music, and therefore we clearly remember "Never Never" as Sharkey's side project, but many of our readers are scattered around the globe with a passing interest in music, who have probably never heard of the band.

N: Fair point, but another single where the Double-A in this case is a billion times better than the lead track. Who is making these decisions?! Had they remembered to change the batteries that day?

T: To sum up, the lead track is a throwaway pop song in the Arctic Monkeys/Kaisers/Little Man Tate mould that does little to stir up any emotions, but "Calculate" is a soaring, atmospheric wonder that is spine tinglingly beautiful. We're going to have to mark the two tracks separately, so 4/10 for "Graphs Maps & Trees" and 9/10 for "Calculate".

web site - myspace

Buy: 7"


Goldspot - Friday (Fontana) 06/08/2007

N: I'm still of the view that "Goldspot" was an aphrodisiac spray from the seventies, bought from adverts placed in special interest magazines...

T: Get it out Nick, er, I mean what you're trying to say, porno mags.

N: ...I'll continue, so getting familiar with this band has always been a little awkward. The first time I encountered this group, thoughts of an early nineties band, Dodgy, csame to mind with the bloated production recalling an "Abbey Road" Beatles.

T: I can't really see the Dodgy connection. They were unfortunately dismissed as throwaway fodder after "Good Enough" shamefully became their biggest hit, despite having released LOADS of good stuff before it. To me, Goldspot are the boring version of Razorlight, or perhaps more harshly a duller version of Geneva. This song is as exciting as sitting. 4/10

web site - myspace

Buy: CD


The Envelopes - Life On The Beach (Brille Records) 06/08/2007

N: Shouldn't they be called the Beachcombers then?

T: So, if their next single was called "Fucking Wankers", would you then say they should be called "Fucking Wank"?

N: No, just a sticky mess.

T: Anyhow, let's get back to the matter in hand (no pun intended), and this is a bright and breezy number, if a little uninspiring, backed by a far superior track called "Calypso", reminiscent of the B-52's sparring with, say, The Gun Club. Should've been the a-side guys. 6/10

web site - myspace



Pepe Deluxe - Go For Blue (Catskills Records) 30/07/2007

T: Do you like my new time machine I've invented? Look, I've whisked us back to the Woodstock festival, 1969. If you press THIS button, you can go to the Isle Of Wight one too. Seriously, this is very much like many of those late sixties, psychedelic artists. Perhaps you could describe it as Jagger going on a trip with Arthur Lee. Whatever, it's a damn fine noise they're making.

N: Going on a "trip" or a "trip"?

T: Obviously I meant of the narcotic induced variety.

N: Ah, that's alright then. Retro to the highest degree. 8/10

web site - myspace



Gravenhurst - Trust (Warp Records) 23/07/2007

N: Gravenhurst - unfortunate name. I think we were both expecting Death Metal with a penchant for human sacrifice. Thankfully we got post shoegazing with a late sixties Velvet Underground refrain.

T: It's grown on me actually. When it began I was thinking it was one of the most boring things I'd ever heard, but the further it went, the more it a kind of minimalistic way which was pleasing to the ears. They remind me a bit of the little known Moose, of the scene you just mentioned, and if these are the guys to bring a new brand of that genre to the forefront of the public eye, then that can only be a good thing. Plimsol staring, anyone? No, Clog Watching. I prefer that...

N: With their fourth album due out at the beginning of September for Warp records, your dream might just come true. I can't say that would be the case for the other dream we were discussing earlier today.

T: It's ok as long as she doesn't tell anyone... 8/10

web site - myspace

Buy: 7"

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