Single Reviews: November 2004

 

Mousse T – Right About Now (Peppermint Jam)

The title track from his new album is a rocky, soulful, funkster that oozes radio play. Will definitely get a lot of coverage from the masses, as do, it seems most of Mousse T’s releases. More pop than anything else but that’s what Mousse T is all about, so I can respect that! 7/10

Nic Caesar

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Fatboy Slim – A Wonderful Night (skint)

The second release from the acclaimed ‘Palookaville’ album. I have to say it miles better than the horrendous first effort. It has soul and funk combined with the quirky, silky touch that is synonymous with the Fatboys productions. 8/10

Nic Caesar

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Alter Ego – Rocker (skint)

First class dance tune with broad appeal. Has been heard everywhere from radio to TV ads. A must buy with several good quality and varied mixes!! 8/10

Nic Caesar

web site

 
 

 

Goldie Lookin’ Chain – You Knows I Loves You (Atlantic)

A truly grotesque record – intentionally of course! – and also undeniably hilarious!

I mean, how can you fault a band with lyrics like “I bought you this necklace – it coust me twelve pounds…from Argos” and that tips a nod to savoury snacks like Quavers before an Al-Green-meets-Barry-White chorus that is at once gut churningly horrendous and laugh out loud funny.

Absolute garbage, but great all the fucking same!

8/10

Tone E

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Goldie Looking Chain – You know I loves you (Atlantic)

Another genius track from these boyo’s. A complete piss take of those soppy 80’s and 90’s rap ballads (LLCoolJ – I need love, comes to mind) and superbly executed. Garbled chorus hooks and hilarious lyrics make this band a phenomenon that will run and run. Christmas No.1 contender?? 10/10

Nic Caesar

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Republic of Loose – Tell More Lies (Big Cat)

Oh alright Nick, I confess: they DO sound a little bit like Fun Lovin’ Criminals, but that’s as far as I’ll go on the matter...

When I reviewed this band’s album recently, there was a discreetly added footnote at the bottom of my review that berated me for not picking up on this fact. I felt like a naughty schoolboy. Still, I got my revenge when I took a dump on his doorstep, and took great satisfaction every time he asked “What’s that smell?” (ed. – so that was you! I had the local force doing DNA swabs in the local area in an attempt to foil the bandit. Doah, am I going to be popular!)

Anyway, what THIS smells of is the aforementioned band playing Twister with Michael Jackson, and as a result it’s a blinding, soulful little single that ought to be a smash if there’s any justice.

9/10

Tone E

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lcd Soundsystem – Movement (DFA)

Not your everyday house track, which is nice. It’s a fusion of new age punk mentality and dance beats. A combo that is becoming ever popular (see album reviews DFA Compilation #2)! This is a raw punk track with heavy guitars etc but a solid, fat tune nevertheless. 7/10

Nic Caesar

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Mando Diao – Paralysed (Majesty/Capitol)

Released mid-November, this is a band to look out for if you haven’t come across them before. Not traditionally my brand of music, but these guys are funky, soulful rockers with a Hendrix'esque sound. A great single and with other tracks such as ‘Motown Blood’ on this disc you won't be disappointed! Quality! 8/10

Nic Caesar

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Babyshambles - Killamangiro (Rough Trade)

T: We're not gonna have another argument are we?

N: Quite the contrary. Stripped of his Libertines, Pete Doherty's superb ability shines through. Political or otherwise, this single perhaps speaks more of the time we are living in than anything else. It's great to hear that this spirit is still present in music, just as it was 25 years ago.

T: I admire Doherty for doing what any right thinking person would do after being kicked out of a band - form another one that sounds exactly like them and continue making beautiful noises. Admittedly, the roots are still firmly planted in later punk and early New Wave artists, but the end result is still startlingly good. So, no punch up then?

N: Well, unless you expect me to take offence from your comment there, this doesn't sound EXACTLY like the Libertines. Sure, it's got Doherty's stamp on it, but with a voice like that, it would have. The guy sounds like he's smoked 20 B&H before he went into the studio and what's more, he probably did...and more besides! 9/10 most definitely

web site - interactive Ecard

 
 

 

The Polyphonic Spree – Two Thousand Places (GoodRecords)

This band is growing from strength to strength now releasing this ‘favourite live’ track. Superb writing and melody on this track. Also on this disc are ‘The best part’ and a re-run of ‘Happy Xmas War is over’. Good stuff! 7/10


Nic Caesar

web site

 
 

 

Radio 4 – State of Alert (CitySlang)

This is a good quality punk funk dance track for me!! Fast and furious with tough funky hooks and energetic vocals, this track has a great all round appeal. Very, very good and one for the record box!! 9/10

Nic Caesar

web site

 
 

 

Harrison Crump – Ride (Electricchair/PIAS)

Another release from one of my favourite soul house producers on Electric chair which is churning out some class new soul tracks lately!! Three mixes available with an epic ten minute club mix and an instrumental. Cool, jazzy laid-back groove with soulful vocals are the order of the day. A joy to listen to and play out! 8/10

Nic Caesar

 
 

 

SchwaB - No Balls (Foundation Records)

Prepare yourselves, because this band's sound is a sticky soup of fuzzed out guitars, played at such a frantic pace, its easy to imagine these guys at a modern day seventies rock convention.

T: It's easy to pick out the MC5 in here, perhaps going bowling with the White Stripes and Razorlight, and then meeting up with Led Zeppelin and Supergrass for a curry afterwards...whilst all the time looking like The Sweet.

N: I can see in this music that the spirit of Hendrix is still as strong as it was in 1969 - as you note, not necessarily as bluesy, but certainly with more funk than you could shake a stick at.

T: Yes, you've really got to get over that stick shaking habit you know.

N: But I like it!

Y: (takes stick away) No! No more stick!

N: (curls up and sulks in the corner). 7/10

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The Strokes - The End Has No End (Rough Trade)

The much vaunted New Yorkers return with the third single from "Room On Fire".

N: A momentous single this one...

T: Why's that then?

N: Well, apparently this is finally the last single to be taken from their platinum selling last album and should signify that the band have either worked, or are working on, a new album.

T: You were a big fan of the second album weren't you? I thought it was fairly good but I was a little disappointed with it at the same time. This WAS one of the better tracks though...more than I can say for the b-side.

N: Well, I know this is something that you hold sacred, but not just to air but actually release this ropey version of The Clash's "Clampdown" turns an awesome single into a "Yeah...ok..." single.

T: Agreed. That was one of the greatest Strummer/Jones compositions but you wouldn't know that here! 7/10

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The Black Velvets - Get On Your Life (Vertigo)

T: I'm not quite sure how cool it is to be named after an Allannah Myles single, to be frank.

N: Er...a Black Velvet is a Guinness and Cider, and the group sounds very much like YOU would feel if you spent an evening on Black Velvet - bloated and set to...

T: i thought you meant they sounded like they were stupid, dizzy and prone to exposing themselves after a few pints.

N: Well that IS another eventuality, I just felt the other was more likely.

T: Something tells me you weren't too keen on this one!

N: (sighs and plays with hair). 4/10

 
 

 

Bird – Falling Like Stars/Christmas Song (Ice Cream Records)

Having been compared to Tori Amos on several occasions, but sounding far more like Norah Jones to my ears, Janie Price (aka Bird) is up there with the best of the female singer/songwriters of our time.

“Falling Like Stars” is one of the warmest, most tender moments on her excellent “The Insides” album, and is like a three minute love-in between Joni Mitchell and Cat Stevens…before he became Yusuf Islam, obviously!

No doubt we’ll be hearing the “second A-side” of this single on all those future “Best Christmas…EVER!” albums that rear their ugly heads around the festive season each year. Well, at least on the “Alternative Christmas” ones anyway.

The best way I could describe Janie’s vocals is to say that they are both sweet and sexy…much like she is, and much like this single is. 8/10

Tone E

web site

 
 

 

Elviss – Not Enough e.p. (Karma Lion)

Unfortunately, Elviss come across – to this reviewer’s lugholes at least – as a less exciting Therapy?
Perhaps you could throw in the faintest snatch of the MC5, and to a lesser extent Little Angels, but there’s no getting away from the fact: this ain’t gonna set the world alight.

Now, although the tracks included here are not BAD at all, they’re not particularly good either, and are ultimately uninspiring. I always give music a chance, but I’ve given this single four spins in a row now and I STILL can’t remember how any of the songs go!

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t expect a cheesy hook to be added just for the sake of making it more memorable, but hell, these guys definitely need SOMETHING because this is just bland. 5/10

Tone E

 
 

 

Ash – Renegade Cavalcade (Infectious/Atlantic)

You already know how wonderful Ash’s recent long player “Meltdown” is, and if you don’t then shame on you! If ever the word “underrated” applied to an album then that was a prime example.

Anyway, this is pretty much what we’re accustomed to with Wheeler’s boys and girl – a noisy, shuddering three and a half minute stallion of a tune that is as insanely infectious as it is shamelessly anthemic.

An excellent single from a fantastic album, and really that’s all I need to say. 9/10

Tone E

web site

 
 

Ooops!: One's that we've (almost) missed

 

Kinky - Oye Como Va (Sonic 360)

No strangers to Atomicduster, Kinky have this time round found themselves contributing to Denzil Washington’s lateset film, the Tony Scott directed; Man On Fire. This much covered song leaves me thinking that somewhere along the way has been ripped by Geri ‘Spice Girl’ Halliwell, I’m wrong, but has the feel that this girl has in someway strayed along this path. But back to our protaganists and Kinky, offer a full-on working of the song written by the four times grammy award winner Tito Puente, complete with rumba and South American vocals. I have nothing with which to fault this one, a very credible version that leaves in mind to catch the film. So why not catch our competition this month in which we have both band and film merchandise up for grabs. 8/10

Nick James

This single is available as an exclusive download, available at sonic360, as well are a number of interesting band samples just to get you warmmed up.

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Nylon Rhythm Machine – Chimera EP (Catskills)

Although this is a more 'down-tempo' breaks and beats type release its got some serious tunage on it man!!! At first listen it feels fairly gentle and predictable, which it is in a way. But, as you absorb the beats, the melody and the general vibe it becomes a larger landscape of sound. A large canvass of sound with delicate and subtle brush strokes that instigates thought provoking daydreams.

‘Starway to Mars’ is a funky, dreamy track laced with strings and subtle bass line. ‘Agent Orange’ is a tougher production with scratching and sampling in and out.

‘Venom’ is a really funky, sample style, breaks tune with strings and piano and live style beats that build well. ‘The Holy Mountain’ is a contemplative track with an obvious spiritual feel. The tune builds in to an uplifting crescendo of spoken word, breaks and strings.

All round a great EP with tracks that perhaps will be developed with some sort of lyrical interpretation either by artist or DJ in a live set. Very mellow, man! 7/10

Nic Caesar

 
 

 

The Departure - Be My Enemy (Parlophone)

The Departure have the feel of a post romantic band, playing with hard machinery as opposed to electronic toys and hot on the heals of their last top 30 single comes ‘All Mapped Out’. I have to say that this doesn’t quite have the same ‘something’ as the earlier single, but don’t let this be a general reflection on the band as still present are their ‘razor sharp drums’ and ‘ferocious .. guitars’. 6/10

Nick James

web site

 
 

 

Deckard – Holy Rolling e.p. (Chrysalis)

A rip roarong, thunderous beauty of a single, and when I say “thunderous”, I MEAN thunderous! After all, this is like standing outside during a magnificent thunderstorm and loving every minute of it. Three minutes of glorious riffs, pulsating rhythm and such vocal intensity that it suggests Chris Gordon could give Muse’s Matt Bellamy a run for his money.

They know the meaning of the word “value” too, these guys. After all, this latest offering features not just two or three extra tracks to back the single but – get this – SIX!

“Yes”, I hear you cry, “but it’s not worth releasing a seven track CD if only half of the tracks are any good”, and you’d be right.

Luckily for us though, that nice Mr.Gordon and his trusty friends are not the kind of people who’d rip us off, and every track (5 originals and two live versions of previously released material) has an explosive quality and has been honed to perfection.

I mean, hey, I’m pretty open minded when it comes to other people’s tastes in music, but if you don’t think this is a masterpiece, then quite frankly you deserve a smack in the chops. 10/10

Tone E

web site

 
 

 

thisGIRL - Master Blaster (Drowned In Sound Recordings)

Hard working, hard sounding, hard touring lads from the industrial heartland of the UK, being Yorkshire, former Feirce Panda signings thisGIRL release ‘Master Blaster’, a single that comes at you as a perfectly credible slice of rock excess, but I’m pleased to say that vocalist Liam Creamer makes the experience of listening to this band, all the more palatable. With the group offering a cover of Massive Attack’s ‘Angel’ on one of the B-sides, I’m sure you will agree with me that Master Blaster show excellent prospects. 9/10

Nick James

web site

 
 

 

Sons and Daughters - Johnny Cash (Domino Recordings)

A re-recorded version of the bands debut single, Johnny Cash is a charged release with power and conviction from this Glaswegian quartet. B-side ‘Hunt’ may be considered a somewhat paller imitation of the initial single, but does ride the same wind, if only I could understand what they were saying. 8/10

Nick James

web site

 
 

 

The Others - Stan Bowles (Poptones/Vertigo)

Walking the line between genius and chaos, are those mavericks that have inspired this number, but look further than the sportsman, footballer with QPR in the 70’s, who lends his name here. Dominic Masters, lead vocalist with the band notes parrallells with Stan and his friend and troubled member with the Libertines, Pete Doherty. I make this clear as I feel this parallel not only between the afore mentioned, but the band itself is a relevant one, this is glorious punk rock that could just as easy have come out of the late seventies, as it has now. Ok some would say that this band are just pedalling second hand music, but I would disagree and proclaim The Others a band to watch. 9/10

Nick James

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Goldie Lookin Chain – Your Mothers Got a Penis (Atlantic)

Class act welsh rappers, GLC, are back with a hilarious new single. Superb lyrics and piss take humour, together with a funky track, make this a must for those who understand the GLC! Believe me there are many who don’t understand them but thankfully more who do, like me!! Superb! Go buy the album! Not for the closed minded! 9/10

Nic Caesar

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The Hidden Cameras - I Believe In The Good Of Life (Rough Trade)

Artists hailing from Toronto, I’m torn over this one. A fast paced number with with a jolly little refrain, but “...I believe in the good of life...”, perhaps these guys have been popping too many of the happy pills. Could it be that a more morose number would give us a little more to get our teeth into. Good all the same, but I can’t help feeling that once it’s gone it will leave me with nothing to rememeber this by. 6/10

Nick James

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Grand National - Drink To Moving On (Sunday Best Recordings)

Described as ‘hypnotically brilliant...’, I’m sure you’ll find that this latest single taken from the groups debut album will further establish duo Rupert Lyddon and Lawrence ‘La’ Rudd as artists to watch closely. So go on, drink to moving onl. 8/10

Nick James

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Goldie Lookin’ Chain – Your Mother’s Got a Penis (Atlantic)

The most amazing thing about GLC is that they can seemingly carry on their one (rather lame) joke so far, without ever getting annoying.

Most “novelty” bands become quite irksome very, very quickly, but I must confess, there is something wildly addictive about this latest, absolutely demented single, and has been lodged firmly in my CD player since I first heard it.

Just the other day I read a misguided article claiming that “Goldie Lookin’ Chain are giving rap a bad name”, as though they were a serious band! I think threin, perhaps, lies the reason they are so endearing – people just don’t know how to take them – in much the same way as the only people who are offended by Eminem’s lyrics are the exact same folk he was TRYING to wind up in the first place. In other words, the ones who don’t get the joke.

Anyway, it’s difficult to see how ANYONE would take GLC as a serious rap band, and this single is delightfully sick and twisted, yet at the same time is gut churningly funny. 8/10

Tone E

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Faultline featuring Flaming Lips – The Colossal Gray Sunshine (Tiny Consumer/EMI)

Whilst “Your Love Means Everything” was an outstanding album and the Flaming Lips have been one of the most consistent and experimental bands of the last decade or so, bizarrely, somehow I’ve never really felt that this track works all that well. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that it was the weakest one ON the album.

I’m not sure why. It just feels a bit like an inebriated Kraftwerk inviting their most fragile minded mate round to talk about the bad luck he’s been having lately while everyone steals chips from his plate.

A bit harsh maybe, as this is still admittedly very listenable, but every other track on the album is superior to this one! 6/10

Tone E

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Do Me Bad Things – Time For Deliverance (Must Destroy Music/Atlantic)

I have to hold up my hands and confess that the press release has got the better of me here, perfectly summing up the sound of this nine piece outfit by saying that they mix “Queens of the Stone Age with Rufus Wainwright, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion with Jellybean, Steely Dan with Monster Magnet (my favourite analogy, and the closest of the lot) and Turbonegro with Randy Newman”.

That kind of renders me speechless, because it is the ultimate description, and there’s not much else I can add.
So, all that remains for me to say is that this WORKS!

A bluesy, funky helping of heavy rock with several lashings of soul, and topped off with such splendid musicianship that the end product is frighteningly good. 9/10

Tone E

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Marjorie Fair – Waves (EMI)

One of the best tracks from the band’s excellent “Self Help Serenade”, and it seems to hark back to the heady days of the seventies and the likes of Wings, John Lennon, and perhaps, to a lesser extent, the Electric Light Orchestra.

No doubt at all that this gives you a lovely warm glow inside, and you could also reference Doves as a possible influence here.

Dreaming, lilting and really very emotional; this is most definitely a tune for your next Winter holiday. 9/10

Tone E

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Bjork – Who Is It? (One Little Indian)

If you’ve ever read my reviews of Bjork’s work before, you’ll know the affliction that I suffer fron. Unfortunately, whenever I hear the Icelandic loon’s voice, I develop an intense migraine that feels like someone is scouring my brain with bleach soaked sandpaper.

The weird thing is, I don’t actually dislike Bjork – in fact I even bought a Sugarcubes album back in my teens that I would play in the car and then feel like I was hung over the next morning, despite not having a drop to drink! Eventually I realised it was her voice that was having this side effect on me.

So, musically, I have no complaints here, but I’m afraid the affliction is still with me, and now I’m off to pop a few paracetamol! 6/10

Tone E

www.bjork.com

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Iain Archer – Summer Jets (Bright Star/PIAS)

It is by happy coincidence that I am reviewing Iain Archer’s new single immediately after having listened to Seafood, as the two acts are probably closer in terms of their compositions than anybody else right now. Good job I LIKE that style then!

Both artists seem to be using a very warm string effect at the present moment in time, and it is testament to their productional skills that neither’s end product ends up sounding twee. Trust me, I was in a band, and using strings – especially those built in effects on modern synths – are difficult to prevent sounding forced at the best of times. Thankfully, in these guys’ hands, they ultimately fulfil their aim. 7/10

Tone E

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The Libertines – What Became of the Likely Lads? (Rough Trade)

Ah, The Libertines – the band that Nick and I are at loggerheads over. In fact, it seems the entire nation is divided over Doherty and co – a typical “love ‘em or hate ‘em” band.

Me, personally I love ‘em, and thought their recent self titled second album was easily worth a solid 9 out of 10; however the ed reckoned it only deserved a 6 at the most and only reluctantly agreed to lift it to a 7 after I’d put my case forward.

Still, the bickering should subside for a while with the release of this, the band’s most anthemic single to date, as I know for a fact that Nick DOES in fact agree that this is a storming shoutalong tune worthy of our praise.

As for what it sounds like, hell, you already know – it’s on the radio every five minutes! 9/10

Tone E

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Morrissey – Let Me Kiss You (Attack/Sanctuary)

Poor choice of single if you ask me (though what do I know – I’m writing this after it charted in the top ten!) from what is possibly the great man’s finest album to date.

Don’t get me wrong – I still quite like this track, but there are at least half a dozen far more superior tracks on “You Are the Quarry” that he could have released.

Interesting to note that Mozzer still has a penchant for yodelling, though to a far more subtle extent than we were accustomed on the old Smiths classic “The Boy With the Thorn In His Side”.

Anyway, the single is quite a gentle affair, and my only real gripe, I guess, is that it is criminally similar to so many other tracks from Stephen Patrick’s back catalogue (and EVERY album is good. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise!), but then, if it worked before, it’ll work again I guess.

Personally, I’d have preferred him to have released one of the two further tracks here as the lead one – particularly the charming “Don’t Make Fun of Daddy’s Voice”, which shows that the enigmatic poet has lost none of his wit and cynicism. 6/10

Tone E

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Seafood – Sleepover (Cooking Vinyl)

“As the Cry Flows” has definitely been one of the best releases of 2004, and whilst I personally don’t think there is a particularly weak point on it, by the same token this is certainly not one of the stronger moments.
Sod’s law dictates that the second track on this single IS my favourite tune from the boys’ recent long player – the wonderful “Heat Walks Against Me”, albeit in a new, acoustic version – and whilst the stripped down update is mightily impressive, I would still so much have preferred the track listing the be the other way around!
The previously unreleased track here, “Old Friend”, is an utterly gorgeous and tender love song that’s worth buying the single for alone. 7/10

Tone
E

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Beastie Boys – Triple Trouble (Capitol/Parlaphone)

As with the album, pure genius!!! My only issue with the single release is the ‘clean’ versions they have issued. These guys are not even that offensive, I mean, c’mon man, they aren’t exactly the 2 Live Crew!!!!! 9/10

Nic Caesar

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Mark B feat. Tommy Evans – Move Now (Genuine)

Heard this a few months ago and thought it was shite then!!!! The music and production are okay but what’s with the freaky vocals?!?!?! Just do not like this, sorry!!!! 5/10

Nic Caesar

 
 

 

Aldo Vanucci – When I see You smile (Catskills)

A good quality reworking of a big 80’s track with four remixes available. The best of the bunch are the Tim Love Lee and Jon Kennedy mixes, the latter being the best outright. Good stuff!!! 8/10

Nic Caesar

 
 

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