Single Reviews: December 2008


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Diverted - Plum/Do You, Is She? (Air Recordings) 29/12/2008

T: Like the outtakes of a jam session between Quincy Jones and Herbie Hancock. The most alarming thing about it though - and I have no idea why this should be - is that it makes me think of Kevin The Gerbil.

N: I don't know whether to be worried or amused by that comment, although its repetitive patterns are, in their own way, rather hypnotic. (Kevin, I can't see that wheel turning. Go on, get back to work).

T: Um, Kevin was a puppet Nick.

N: I beg to differ. Kevin is sitting right here next to me.

T: What's that long tube he's going through? 7/10

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Nitin Sawhney ft Natty - Days Of Fire (Cooking Vinyl) 22/12/2008

N: Nitin Sawhney's mighty lead track from this years 'London Undersound'. Natty simply voices so much emotion in this number, it brings a lump to my throat every time I hear it. I'm glad it is seeing its own release, this should rightly find its place at number 1.

T: It should, but it won't. There's not really anything else to say. It's an astonishing recording and one of the most poignant pieces of music you're likely to hear between now and the end of the century. I also love the ambiguity of it - it's so bleak, yet at the same time defiantly positive. Fantastic. 10/10

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Kong - Leather Penny (Brew Records) 15/12/2008

T: Touch of the Beefhearts here I think. Not quite the uncommercial beast of "Trout Mask Replica" but without a doubt a nod toward something like "Safe As Milk", perhaps with Zappa and Waits thrown into the equation for good measure. This is excellent and the great thing is, stupid people - and there are plenty of them - just won't get it at all. I hope Kong turn up on X-Factor and play this. I want to see the audience cry.

N: This single is the musical equivalent of Leatherface running through a macabre landscape, his chainsaw held high, the inevitability of steel blades meeting skin and bone only moments away (yes doctor I did take my medication this morning).

T: What are the odds on this being Christmas number one?

N: I'd say slim.

T: Give me a price then.

N: Well my odds on favourite last year was Malcolm Middleton's "We're All Going To Die", so my track record as a pundit isn't necessarily the best. I'd say 75 milion to one.

T: Right, I'll have 2p on.

N: Aagh!

T: I think you're pretty safe. 8/10

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Jack Butler - Are You A Hustler? (Whimsical Records) 15/12/2008

T: Almost as if Kevin Rowland has been taking speed with Fatima Mansions whilst listening to a host of classic disco records. Strangely appealing.

N: And without a Jack Butler in sight. This four piece, like Danny Wilson, have chosen the enigmatic persona to front.

T: And what do you think of the music?

N: It's retro indie dance that would be worthy of gracing any wall. 8/10

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James Yorkston - Tortoise Regrets Hare (Domino) 08/12/2008

T: I'm going to let you comment first, because all I need to say is that this is my favourite track on James' excellent "When The Haar Rolls In" album.

N: Imagine a smoke filled room with a guitarist atop a high bar stool at the other end of the space. James's musical genius simply oozes from this number, his deft musical imagery effortlessly dances around the room.

T: Utterly, utterly beautiful, and there really is little else that needs to be said about it. 9/10

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This Is Radio Freedom - Strikes Sparks Anywhere EP (Sidealk 7) 01/12/2008

N: A band who, it would appear, have a worthy record library at hand. First off I noticed that of Julian Cope, which as I'm sure you'd agree is no bad thing.

T: Agreed, but then it starts sounding like one of The Killers' best tunes and also reminds me a little, bizarrely, of Slade's "Run Runaway". And I have a soft spot for Noddy's boys, so again, that's no bad thing. Big Ears is a bit of a creep though, don't you think?

N: So, although not entirely original, this band have used the knowledge they have at hand to great effect, creating a set of truly stompworthy tunes that, hell, I'd take home. I'd just be wary of meeting the mother-in-law.

T: There was an amusing aside here from me, but I've been told to take it out. 9/10

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My American Heart - There Are More Frightening Things (Bodog Music) 01/12/2008

T: Despite nicking the intro to "Message In A Bottle", My American Heart unfortunately lack any of the pizazz of the former chart giants, and instead end up sounding somewhere between Bowling For Soup and Lostprophets. This is not a compliment.

N: The band have made a solid, if not derivative tune that, alas, misses out all the nuances of...

T: ...anything? 4/10

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