Single Reviews: October 2008

 

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Eugene McGuinness - Moscow State Circus (Domino) 27/10/2008

T: Could have been written by David Byrne circa "Little Creatures". Catchy, highly entertaining lyrics and somehow heartening. Eugene McGuinness is probably one of the finest solo artists presently doing the rounds.

N: A number that springs from the speakers like a steroid driven athlete, and where the radio edit's concerned, fades like their former glory. Pity the edit wasn't treated with a little more care, otherwise a wonderful number. 9/10

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Late Of The Pier - Bathroom Gurgle (Zarcorp/Parlophone) 27/10/2008

N: Think Thomas Dolby, Gary Numan and the Human League meetin Freddie Mercury at a Kaiser Chiefs gig.

T: I think the whole thing sounds more like Devo myself, which is a great template to base your sound on. Very enjoyable.

N: Indeed. It's that early electro influence meeting in the 21st century that's so appealing. 9/10

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Nitin Sawhney - Distant Dreams (Cooking Vinyl) 20/10/2008

N: Taken from this album, it's the bleak, but no less brilliant opening number "Days Of Fire" that I would've liked to see as the debut single. But considering that, I can see that "Distant Dreams" has all the elements that make it a great single. Mixed it sounds great and naked without any treatment applied, it's just as great.

T: I would agree with you there. This single has a wonderful "Girl From Ipanema" rhythm underlying it and on the remix, it transforms into a sinister version of the theme tune to "The Riddlers"; however it's a very serious subject matter and the overriding feel is one of poignancy. 9/10

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Robert Wyatt & Bertrand Burgalat - This Summer Night (Domino) 20/10/2008

T: Now this I DIDN'T expect. Given the downbeat, almost miserablist tendencies of Wyatt's last offering, "Comicopera", the last thing I expected him to come out with was a cheerful, almost disco oriented colossus of a record in the mould of the Four Tops. Thing is though, despite the former Soft Machine man being in what are probably his twilight years, he has proved he has the knack of delivering the goods time and again. A world without Wyatt would be a much poorer one.

N: It's almost as if a party was going on in Robert's head when he wrote this one. Certainly a number to set the feet tapping. 8/10

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Stone Gods - Don't Drink The Water (Integral/PIAS) 27/10/2008

T: Anthrax having a party wth Motley Crue. The title brings to mind Zappa's "Don't Eat The Yellow Snow", but the music is very much an eighties pop-rock sound, bizarrely incorporating an Amazulu style reggae section briefly, halfway through the song.

N: A number not quite sure what it is or where its going. Who exactly is their audience? 5/10

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The Last Shadow Puppets - My Mistakes Were Made For You (Domino) 20/10/2008

T: Avoiding the obvious references that everyone always uses when reviewing Turner's side project, let's just say this is another well produced chunk of sixties nostalgia that demands repeated listens.

N: It's possible that Turner and Kane had been watching re-runs of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) on ITV4, prior to going into the studio with the band. This is indeed a joyful number that will no doubt conjure memories of...

T: Don't say it...

N: What? A different life, I was going to say.

T: Oh. 8/10

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Wild Beasts - Brave Bulging Buoyant Clairvoyants (Domino) 13/10/2008

T: Much has been made of Wild Beasts' vocal style being compared to the late, great Billy MacKenzie, not least within these pages and, whilst we could be accused of "lazy journalism" for doing so, it would be churlish of anyone to level those charges against us when it is clearly true. Having said that, this band's latest single is far to cheerful and uptempo to even share the same dinghy as The Associates. Not that it's unappealing, but I feel I would grow tired of this track pretty quickly, despite what Mr. Lamacq would have you believe...

N: I go along entirely with what you've said. After all, this is pop in its truest sense. 7/10

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Janette Slack - Take It / Around The Block (Air Recordings) 13/10/2008

T: I bet you're expecting me to hate this, aren't you? It does, however, have a brainwashing quality about it and my legs will not stay still while this is playing. I would even go so far as to say it's a genius dance choon...and I hate it when people say "choon". Thoroughly absorbing.

N: Eclectic Janet will certainly set floors alight with these thick as treacle numbers. Heavy on bass and sharp as a razor electro. Your comments did take me by surprise, however, and I think it's credit to this artist that you saw her genius. 9/10

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Introduction to...

 

The Count & Sinden - Hardcore Girls EP (Domino) 13/10/2008

T: Like Salt 'n' Pepa performing Malcolm McLaren's "Buffalo Gals" - irritating but fun.

N: 17 year old Rye Rye has offered her vocal to accompany the Count & Sinden's "bumpy bass grooves", but Salt 'n' Pepa get a treatment like they'd never envisaged. 7/10

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Tricky - Slow (Domino) 13/10/2008

T: "Knowle West Boy" is such a superb album that Tricky could have released practically anything from it and have over the top praise lavished upon it. So it goes without saying that this funked up Alabama 3 kind of tune is a blinder. Agreed?

N: One could say funked, one could also say "sexed", as this version of Kylie's hit single is a sleazy parade through the mind of this legend.

T: Sheer class. 9/10

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Wicked Jester - Might As Well (Air Recordings) 03/10/2008

The North American duo have enlisted the talents of Josh Martinez a.k.a. The People's Champ, rapper, record producer and label executive extraordinarie, on this treacle laden number that repeats 4 times on this single. 4 times, but with enough constantly going on to make it different each turn of the dial. Featuring the familar rings of Oizo's 'Flat Beat' looped, this is infectious. 8/10

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i Concur - Oblige (Brew Records) 06/10/2008

i Concur, might well be described as the West Country's best kept secret, if the song writing and production of this number is anything to judge this band by. Not your usual 3-minute pop moment. Well as this clocks in at 4 and a half minutes it may be a pretty heavy clue, but a rather love lorn number depicting the futility of a band slowly breaking apart. Yes alright Tom (credited as the song writer here), we'll over look that rather troubled relationship that split 3 years ago when you penned this number. But really, this is a classic love song, where the swirling reverb and ever present melody sings its own song. And if that's not enough, you have a B-side here, 'Captors', that is as strong as any A-side. 8/10

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The Rivers - Love Or Whatever (No Carbon Records) 06/10/2008 (download only)

It's not hard to make up that these guys hail from Brighton, it's that air of sand filled shoes and late nights that just go on forever. So how to describe The Rivers? (spying early lines in the press release and remixing these a little with how it feels) Chirpy Cappies, that's it, playing sub 3-minute pop tunes, that suit precisely low, dark rooms, with little air to breathe and alcohol on tap at the bar. 6/10

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Liquid Liquid - 'Remixes' (Domino) 06/10/2008

As the title suggests, these are tunes with the shit remixed out of them. First off Glasgow's Optimo replaying their own eponymously named track, in what seems a South American carnival, with echo's of Pig Bag in the mix. Second off the blocks is 'Rubbermiro' mixed by The Loving Hand. Same tempo, played to tremendous lengths and with that Pig still hanging in the air. Third time around DJ Matthew Dear tries his hand at mixing the first number to even greater depths, but forgetting to take the stuck needle out of the groove it is welled in. Finally and at long last, oh, it's 'Optimo' only worked by DJ Sample, trying his hand at ambient carnival. Ummm, by this point I've fallen asleep with my head stuck to my desk. Remember guy's what your Grand mother used to say of the old bird down at the bottom of the street, "you can't make a silk purse from a sows ear", and perhaps next time we'll all get home early. 3/10

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Rod Thomas - Same Old Lines (Self Raising Records) 06/10/2008

An uplifting number, with "ukulele-led" anthemic qualities, you can almost see those flikering lighters and smell the butane in the air. London Metro called this "Joyous lo-fi folk pop", part of which is a tired and overused theme, although not to call this a joyous number would be criminal in itself. A firm favourite with a host of Radio 1 DJ's from Huw Stephens to Rob Da Bank, this number is acoustic indie played to great effect, with a shameless line in emotive song writing. 8/10

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Weezer - Troublemaker (DGC/Interscope Records) 29/09/2008

Now we're talking. The second single taken from their sixth album, eponymously titled, apparently, otherwise known as 'the Red album', this number is one hell of a tune and one that Rivers Cuomo said was "a real introductory sort of song, saying 'Hi this is who I am'". 'Troublemaker' is the kid who wants to sit at the back of the class room, learn from life and as the song puts across, "...not from stupid books, they're for petty crooks".

Quite the message this is putting across to the band's young audience only one can assume, but hey we're all stars in our own lunch time. 9/10

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Voodoo Six - Feed My Soul (White Knukle Records) 29/09/2008

Taken from the band's debut album, the outfit described as one of rock's "behemoth's" may be overstated, but trying they are. A swirling pool of electric guitar, a fudge of heavy rhythm and a vocalist who appears to be doing his best Robert Plant impersonation, in this sub 5 minute distraction. It's all been seen and heard before. 4/10

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Max Tundra - Will Get Fooled Again (Domino) 29/09/2008

Apparently a release that precedes that of his 3rd studio album and one where the description provided is of "...sounding like McFly orbiting the Earth...", without space suits, I trust! This number is musically cluttered and one most certainly demonstrating that of the cyber age. Fun, but altogether may prove a little too much. The B-side is apparently of Roger and Hammerstein's 'So Long Farewell', but alas failed to make it to my promo. I do like the video he has provided however, expected him to have a little more hair though. Perhaps the spagetti should be a permanent apparel. 6/10

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Nigel of Bermondsey - Overload (Pure Mint Recordings) 29/09/2008

A thought provoking number, that will open its secrets the further and more you listen. Tuneful and with a late seventies spirit within its chords, this number might be summed up by recent events and the line "...I know you always said that an accident would happen, but no one ever listened until now and it's too late...".

Cheerful? Well the artist has composed a cracking score, that put in this context will leave you thinking, rather than crying into your tea. But Nigel, sorry Of Bermondsey, does tend to err on the side of the morose, but manages to lift the mood with a well crafted tunes. Perhaps not the sort of guy to introduce to your 90 year old grandmother at the home, but he'll do well at the Thursday night mosh at the Uni. 8/10

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The Lovely Eggs - Have You Ever Heard The Lovely Eggs? (Cherryade) 24/09/2008

A duo from Lancaster with the attitude of 90's Seattle in their hair, so having heard earlier work I'll be honest, this is shit! Armed with a recorder (that's right, that plastic tube where we all first encountered music before our eighth birthday), I'll be honest when vocalist Holly Ross asks "Have I ever heard a digital accordian?", I couldn't give a toss.

I've heard Lo-fi, which is where I can only assume they're trying to pitch themselves on this single, but this doesn't even come close. The one saving grace however, once heard it is very hard to forget and will most likely be driving you mad by tea-time. 2/10

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Not this single,
thankfully!

 

Sam Isaac - Sticker, Star and Tape (Alcopop/Big Scary Monsters) 22/09/2008

From his name, sounding more like a sixties soul singer, but from this single, more like an indie wannabe, from hereon in perhaps he'll lose that categorisation to become all that he is destined to be. Described as a "riotous fist in the air pop affair", this is one description that sums up certainly what this single is about.

I have a feeling this is maybe a "WATCH THIS SPACE". 7/10

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