Thursday, 29 October 2009

Atlas Sound - Walkabout

Reviewed by Mark Corcoran-Lettice

Well here’s one for the picture book. Bradford Cox and Panda Bear, both standard bearers for the school of American Alternative Rock, Class ‘08-’09, have both been touring partners and mutual fans for a long time, but ‘Walkabout’, the first single from the Atlas Sound (Bradford’s solo project) record Logos, marks the first time the two have appeared together on record.

Riding largely on an organ sample from the Dovers’ ‘What Am I Going To Do’, the celebratory nature of the track initially appears much more a product of Panda Bear than Atlas Sound, boasting an optimism and lightness of feel rarely found in Bradford Cox’s tense, claustrophobic work. But the devil is very much in the details, and amongst the duo’s jubilant chanting, Cox’s trademarks slowly appear: a slightly worn, faded production style that renders the sound nostalgic and sepia-toned, the chiming delayed guitars quietly subverting the blasts or organ in the back of the mix and the sudden, unexpected fade-out all bring the track back in line with what we might expect of the Atlas Sound moniker. Bradford Cox may have spoken of Logos being an attempt to produce a more extroverted record, and certainly ‘Walkabout’ does see his music step gloriously into the sunlight – just don’t expect there not to be at least some residual fear there.

Pearl Jam - Got Some / Just Breathe

Reviewed by Tom Waldron 'off the radio'

Before I begin I want to make clear that nowhere in this review will I use the “G” word, it’s a well documented fact that the term “Flannel Rock” is far more politically correct.

Okay this is the new double A-sided single from flannel rockers Pearl Jam and it finds them moving in a more commercial direction which comes as somewhat of a surprise and I’m not talking about in the way that “Ten” was commercial either the material here is somewhat poppier with “Got Some” being a little reminiscent of the Police (The band not the force, so don’t flush all your drugs down the toilet.) that said it’s a fine song not one of the bands best but it’s catchy with some excellent drumming and Mike McCready contributes some tasteful leads without letting rip, showing why he’s one of the finest lead guitarists of the last 20 years. “Just Breathe” sees the band moving in a folksy direction and this, I feel is the weaker of the two tracks on display although it does feature some cool organ parts from the “6th Pearl Jammer” Boom Gaspar. So in conclusion, not the bands finest hour but decent enough, hey at least they aren’t making records with Timbaland (take that Chris Cornell, with your boy band haircut and your French restaurant!)

3/5. Grunge. Bugger.

Alister Spence - Mercury

Reviewed by John Jackson

I took this to review on a whim, partly because of my want to expand my knowledge of the Jazz scene and partly because I had been drinking, however as soon as a popped the CD in my computer I realised it had been a great choice. At first listen the album hits you as a piece of classic lounge music, this is the sort of music the bourgeoisie drink flamboyant cocktails too. It is the sort of music you listen too whilst unwinding with a coffee, a latte for example. However after listening to it again, you realise it wasn’t a latte you were drinking, it was an espresso.

Ok I realise that comparing jazz music to coffee isn’t the done thing but bear with me. A latte is a comfortable drink, easy to get right, easy to drink, similar to good lounge music. A good espresso, however, is difficult to make, its flavours vary inside it from the strength of the first sip, to the subtle aftertaste, similar to good jazz music.

I have often found it difficult to appreciate music without lyrics yet the trio’s pianist Spence dispels this idea within moments of the opening track Alpha. You can hear his passion in his touches of the keys in what seems a mystical setting. Then in later tracks, such as my personal favourite Marco Polo goes West, you can hear a frenzy of notes pouring out from the heart of the piano. Swanton and Hall (Bass and drums respectively) provide a fantastic backing to this, seemingly following wherever the piano goes with music to accompany it perfectly. There style also seems to range from the classic lounge jazz sounds of Sixteen to the more experimental Pi. Pi sounds like it should be taken from the soundtrack of lost in translation, its only 1:48 long yet it makes the biggest impact on the album due to it being constructed using mainly glockenspiel samples but also due to its relaxed nature coming straight after the frenzy that is Marco Polo goes west.

All in all, I love this album and am deeply looking forward to reviewing their newest album Fit. Seriously if you are interested in jazz or seeing the roots of modern music please have a listen, preferably somewhere comfortable, low lit, with a drink, I suggest an old fashioned one.


Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Frank Turner - Poetry of the Deed

Reviewed by Chris Render

Taken from his album of the same name, guitarist/singer/songwriter extraordinaire Frank Turner’s new single is nothing short of what fans have come to expect: astonishing. Poetry of the Deed, like much of Turner’s earlier work, is simultaneously touching, talented and thought-provoking. Turner’s real appeal lies with his ability to speak to an audience made up of real people. The result of this man’s talent combined with the consideration he puts into his song writing is an affecting musical triumph. I’ve never heard a bad Frank Turner song and Poetry of the Deed fails to break his streak: an uplifting tour de force.


Lucky Elephant - Reverend Tisley & His Magic Lantern

Reviewed by Chris Render

Somewhat unsurprisingly, Reverend Tisley & His Magic Lantern is a laid back affair, competently performed by Lucky Elephant. Definitely worthy of note are the vocals of French singer Manu, possibly the highlight of both tracks on the single. The title track is cheerful, easy to listen to and hard to dislike, and Edgar is no different. Whilst the music of Lucky Elephant is not the kind of thing that one would usually find within my own music collection, their unique sound has won me over. Though you’re unlikely to hear this in many clubs, I’d track it down. It’s worth the extra effort.


Hollywood Undead - Young

Reviewed by Chris Render

Hollywood Undead are a rare breed, crafting rap metal that, well, isn’t bad. Their streak of showing that this genre has indeed got some merit is not broken by Young. I’m willing to concede that not everybody’s iPod has room for Hollywood Undead, indeed, I’d say they’re probably more of an acquired taste, but personally I really enjoyed Young. If you’re a fan of Krash, check this out.


The Explorer's Collective - Bangers and Mash

Review of The Explorer’s Collective – Bangers and Mash
Chris Render

Hip, catchy, right up my alley: all ways I could (and in the end chose to) describe Bangers and Mash. It’s infectious riff stays with you long after the song finishes and on the whole the debut single from London four-piece The Explorer’s Collective is a brilliant display of talent. With shades of bands like The Kinks, Bloc Party and The Fratellis, I’d be both disappointed and astonished if The Explorer’s Collective aren’t the next big thing.


Ash - True Love 1980

Reviewed by Chris Render

I like Ash, and True Love 1980 is no exception, reminiscent (at least to my humble ears) of arguably their greatest track to date, Girl From Mars. A catchy tune, great vocals and genuine music talent provide a showcase for Ash’s formidable talent, displaying a return to the golden days of this staple of the music scene. It might not be for everyone, but if you like Ash, you’ll love True Love 1980.


Codeine Velvet Club - Vanity Kills

Reviewed by Chris Render

It’s good to be reviewing again, not least of all because I get to listen to musical triumphs like Vanity Kills. Codeine Velvet Club’s new single is a brilliantly catchy display of talent, one that I find myself whistling long after last hearing it. I’m definitely expecting to hear more from this talented group of artists in the coming months. Codeine Velvet Club are among the most interesting artists I’ve encountered this year.


The Plight - Wind of Osiris

Reviewed by Phil Boardman

“Winds Of Osiris” is the debut full-length album from Leeds' The Plight. After the first listen I wasn’t too sure about the album with growling hardcore vocals making it hard to listen to, but on a second listen it soon started to grow on me. The guitar riffs throughout the album have a classic rock sound and are extremely catchy, and the instrumental “Lifted to the Sun” is a nice change after listening to the fast paced riffs from the rest of the album. Another album highlight for me would be the song "Tied To The Tracks" opening with a classic sounding guitar riff reminding me of Audioslave, which then blends well with energetic drum beat, also the vocals in this song become a lot more distinguished in comparison, making it easier to listen to than other songs on the album. If you’re in to bands such as Gallows and Cancer Bats these are definitely worth a listen to.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Greyhounds in the Slips - The Joy Formidable

Reviewed by Scott McLoughlin

The combination of hook heavy lyrics and droning guitar, force the Joy Formidable to your attention, if nothing else. Yet, it is somewhat darker than their 2008 offering Austere. Admittedly this is not every body’s cup of tea, but it engenders a reaction similar to said cup of tea being thrown into your face. Perhaps this is the reason the trio are supporting the likes of: The Editors, Passion Pit in the UK, and then are on a European tour with the Temper Trap; all this after a mini tour of Japan. The guest vocals of Paul Draper (of Mansun fame) compliment the now industrial tones of a band born in the welsh country. All this, and energetic live performances indicate they should be monitored for chance of future success.
I do however have a few issues with the recording itself. The Vocals, though undoubtedly catchy in the chorus, are blurred in the verse; blending the vocals into the body of the music as whole so that they are eventually lost. Those of you wanting poetic sentiments throughout will also be disappointed. Furthermore, if you are that annoying person on facebook; the one who loves to quote inspired song lyrics as their status, you too will not find what you are looking for. However, if you love household appliances you are in luck. The vocal-less ‘bridge section’ towards the end of the song sounds like a washing machine drumming and whirring to the ambience of a kitchen radio. Check them out, but this I have to say is largely an injustice to their live quality.

2.5 / 5

Ou Est Le Swimming Pool – Dance The Way I Feel

Reviewed by Solveig Werner

On the 2nd of November the North London three-piece band Ou Est Le Swimming Pool is releasing their newest single Dance The Way I Feel. Charles Haddon, Joe Hutchinson, and Caan Capan might be making some mistakes with their French (“Ou est le swimming pool” means “or is the swimming pool”, when they probably wanted to say “Où est le swimming pool” which means “where is the swimming pool), but they do know how to make some catchy music.

This new song strongly reminds me of the better releases by the Black Kids, just this time it is a British and not an American band providing our ears with the tunes. The song is for the dance floor, and will most likely find its most followers in the mid teens.

Even though one of their influences is meant to be The Pet Shop Boys, La Roux could very well influence them on this track.


Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Arctic Monkeys - Cornerstone

Reviewed by James Fairfield

Keeping the same dark vibe of their latest and frankly brilliant album, Humbug, the Arctic Monkeys new single Cornerstone is everything that you could hope for from the Sheffield lot. It may not be as catchy as earlier singles like I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor or Teddy Picker yet it still has that authentic northern touch that the band are famous for. While slightly depressing in places it still contains enough witty lyrics to bring a smile to your face and leave you craving more.

Kill It Kid

Reviewed by Scott McLoughlin

Like a shot of bourbon to the eye, Kill It Kid’s debut Album (self titled but known as ‘Songs of Love and Loss and Debauchery’) is as hot as an iron prod to cowhide. They are probably the first band of 2009 to leave the listener branded. Not your generic blues, indie, folk or even country sound. In fact many arguments will be had trying to define them. The lead vocal is nothing short of breath taking. The blues and country influences in this album are manifest and self-evident. However, this album does not give the listener a one-genre handle to grasp. Unique male vocals, raw guitar, and dynamic fiddle playing are mellowed by heartfelt piano and soulful female harmony. Even the lyrics are educated and catchy, far from mindless. There is so much to grab your attention it is easy to overlook the thundering drums; drums which at the same time are finely balanced and produced. Highly evocative tracks such as send me an ‘Angel Down’ and ‘Private Idaho’ gives the album a softer and at times beautiful core. A necessary contrast to furious tracks such as the albums hard-hitting opener ‘Heaven Never Seemed So Close’, and the electric bluesy feel of the ‘Troubles of Loretta’ and ‘Burst it Banks’. In fact the album is filled with controlled out pourings of emotion. Emotion expressed through the music’s variety of pace and tone, and not forgetting Chris Turpin’s unbelievable voice. The song’s layouts even have more depth than your standard formulaic pop. Nothing I write can adequately describe this bands truly massive and exciting sound. You’ll struggle to choose a favourite track by them. Honestly, this is the best album I’ve bought in a long time. Not bad for five young guns from Bath.


Sundown - Anywhere Inside

Reviewed by James Fairfield

After 5 years of releasing EPs, gigging and supporting various bands around Europe, rock band Sundown finally come round to releasing their debut album, Anywhere Inside and do not fail to make a great first impression. It comes as sad news that they cancelled their North England and Scotland tour of the album as the record. The album is an intricate blend of acoustic and electric rock underpinned by a funky vibe that allows Anywhere Inside to make for essential easy listening as well as including a sweet dose of originality.

The album is at its heart a collection of love songs, but don’t let that deter you from giving it a listen, as it is full of bittersweet lyrics as well as having a few brutal riffs to accompany. The two opening tracks Inside and Later That Night are chilled out and as you can guess from the track names are fairly cheeky. While the later tracks take a more electrical approach to the music, most notably Just A ride, but still maintain a laid back sound.

For the final couple of tracks Sundown return to their acoustic roots to finish off the album on a lighter and slicker note that will leave you wanting more. Making this a promising debut album and leaving us hopeful for the future.

Ivor Game - Small

Reviewed by James Tabbinor

Ivor Game is a little known London based singer/songwriter who’s been around for a good decade or so, and has had a string of well received albums and singles. You may not have heard of him but he’s managed to tour the UK and Europe, sometimes going as far as America to play gigs. Having said that, they obviously can’t have been massive tours otherwise we’d have heard more of him, so he can’t be that good, right?

Well you know what, this isn’t half bad. It’s actually quite good, and different. It isn’t mind blowing or musically revolutionary, but it isn’t trying to be. The lyric ‘There’s something quite remarkable in being small’ sums it up, and I suppose that reflects his career; he’s not been at the top selling platinum albums, but he’s quite content and happy not to be. He obviously just enjoys making music, and fair play to him, because this is a lot better than some generic basement band shite that sings about making it to the top and the like. This is just a nice song with decent lyrics and a gentle guitar piece backing it, and it doesn’t claim to be anything else, so you can’t really fault him for that.


Monday, 19 October 2009

Mando Diao – Give Me Fire

Reviewed by Scott McLoughlin

If the Arctic Monkey’s were more soulful and Swedish, or if the Hives decided they wanted to ‘become more mature’ (which they should never do) you might end up with Mando Diao. ‘Give me Fire’ is their 5th Studio Album. Upon first listening this album peaks, and troughs. There are, however, some absolute standout tracks. Tracks including ‘Gloria’ which subtly incorporates strings and female backing vocals into Mando’s ‘boyish garage rock’ meets ‘gospel’ sound. A sound I’m lead to believe in the past was driven by bass lines, choppy chords, distorted guitar riffs and dancey rock /indie beats. This less produced sound perhaps best epitomised by their breakthrough 2004 album ‘Hurricane Bar’. In many respects, not a whole lot has changed, though there is indication of further diversion away from the sound of albums gone by. Perhaps the pop highlight of the album is ‘Dance with somebody’. It’s the kind of track that should, and probably will, echo around national radio for months. It has ‘sing-along-able’ lyrics, and words that will most definitely stick in your head. Stick to the extent you’ll have to beat them out of your mind with concentrated doses of Britney Spears ‘womanizer’ (or something equally repetitive) which conveniently you’ve crafted into some sort of mind baseball bat. Mercifully it’s not all just mindless pop dribble. After two or three listens you start to get what this album is all about. The in your face indie pop tracks, though still enjoyable, take a back seat. Tracks such as ‘Maybe Just Sad’, show that amongst the gospel Mando actually do have something to preach; preaching with the innocence of language only a Swedish band singing in English could. Mando frame themselves as sort of working class heroes. You can see why with reoccurring references to ‘the upper classes’. If this isn’t your political view, don’t worry, everyone can relate to death. Mando Diao’s track ‘Crystal’ is amongst the most pleasant I’ve heard dealing with the subject of the afterlife. I don’t feel this album will be the death of the band; in fact quite the contrary. ‘Give me fire’ looks set to bring Mando Diao to the attention of a fan base that has thus far eluded them. I just hope current Mando fans enjoy it. Stick with it, and give it a few listens when it’s released.


Massive Attack – Splitting the Atom EP

Reviewed by Helen Stephenson

If you will excuse the poor joke, I am a massive Massive Attack fan, and it was with great eagerness that I put the Splitting the Atom EP in my CD drive. I was immediately confronted with an EP unlike any other music Massive Attack have released.

The trick with this record is to forget that it is Massive Attack. Again excuse the pun, but I know this is tricky. When you recall such seminal releases such as Blue Lines and Mezzanine you immediately feel disappointed, even cheated by this record. The songs just don’t seem to have the same depth and beauty of previous seminal masterpieces such as ‘Teardrop’, ‘Angel’ or ‘Man Next Door’. But if you succeed in ignoring the fact that this is Massive Attack and don’t compare it to their previous releases, you’re actually listening to some good music. Hearing Guy Garvey’s vocals on ‘Bulletproof Love’ was surprisingly pleasant, and whilst you could hear the musical influence that the Elbow front man has had on the track, it also had a distinctly un-Elbowlike quality to it. Equally it did not sound like the Massive Attack we have all grown to know and love. By far my favourite track on this EP was ‘Psyche (Flash Treatment)’, featuring the gorgeous vocals of Martina Topley-Bird. This track has a twinge of a dubstep feel to it, whilst still maintaining the sense of a classic chill-out track. Of the four songs, ‘Psyche’ was the most encouraging, and if the new album due out next year is along the lines of this track I do not doubt that it will be another sensational record.

I do not think Massive Attack were attempting to continue down the musical path they have become so established on with this EP. This is a move in a new direction, into new territory that they have not covered before. Now there is just the question of convincing massive Massive Attack fans that this is something to get excited about.


A Lesser Of Two Evils – Fighting Fiction

Reviewed by Mark Gomersall

When I think of reggae the last words I expect to see describing it are "These are songs written with anger", but that's exactly what Bristol 4-piece "Fighting Fiction" are promising on their debut EP "A Lesser Of Two Evils". Whilst this has all the makings of a trainwreck, the band actually manage to pull off the blend of reggae and indie-rock fairly competently, albeit in a rather mediocre fashion, with the opening and closing tracks both feeling as though they're stuck in second gear. It's also quite difficult to shrug off the feeling that this is the kind of music your year 9 Geography teacher would have enjoyed. However, the middle 2-songs on the EP sees the band turning things around. Channelling the spirit of both Billy Bragg and a more ‘punked up’ Frank Turner, “Cameraphones And Choruses” and “You Mean The World To Me” are exciting tracks with massive sing-along choruses and show definite promise for the band’s future. All in all a mixed bag of an EP, in which I feel the band still hasn’t found the sound they’re looking for.


Zero 7 – Yeah Ghost

Reviewed by Helen Stephenson

Zero 7 have always been fairly poppy, but I always thought they had an extra spark that gave their records more credibility than the average pop artist. Yeah Ghost seems to have veered yet more into the grounds of pop than previous albums, possibly even borderline indie, and the only way to do this album justice is to review it as such. Or so I thought.

Zero 7’s lyrics have always stood out as remarkable. They have a beautiful way of constructing very simple, yet very elegant lyrics that intrigue the listener. Yeah Ghost is no exception to this rule, and having listened to this album about ten times I am still noticing lyrics that I did not spot the previous times. Pretty impressive for a pop record, eh?

This is probably because this record is still so much more than pop. There is a lot more going on in these songs than any commercial pop record could offer, and clearly plenty more thought has gone into their creation. Yeah Ghost still does not have enough substance to be considered a decisive piece of music, but it is still a great joy to listen to with some absolute gems on it, and a welcome addition to my music collection.


Assembly Point 3 – Slipping Away

Reviewed by Stephen Ferrell

For an unsigned band I have to say I was immediately impressed by the quality of the production on the Slipping away track. This is clearly anthemic Indie and the track kicks off with a superb energy level driven by the guitar and drums. The pounding constant drumbeat has a real foot tapping quality to it. The vocals are perfect for this style of music and the lyrics are of a good quality for this kind of anthemic Indie. I can see this track being big both in the Indie clubs and for anyone that is just looking for some good music to listen to. I can certainly see this band becoming very big in the forthcoming months. Also included is a second track Finelines. This is a much more melodic track, though it still maintains a good energy level. It gives the vocalist a much better opportunity to demonstrate his abilities. Again the lyrics are pretty good. Neither of these tracks could in any sense be described as anything original or groundbreaking. However there is still something special about doing what has been done before to a highly proficient level. That’s exactly what the band have done here.


Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Rose Elinor Dougall - Fallen Over

Reviewed by Christian Allen

Rose Elinor Dougall must already be fed up of reviews linking her current project to her polkadot past as the lead member of the Pipettes, alas the transition from band to solo isn’t as easy as Phil Collins would make out. The Pipettes arguably were the first act of recent times to acknowledge and embody the sound of pre-rock/mid-60s girl-group pop which has now proved so fruitful for Duffy, Amy Winehouse and co. However Rose Elinor Dougall has successfully disassociated herself from this with her own work and this latest offering due out in November.

The first to go solo, I originally became aware of Dougall’s work with her previous single “Stop/Start/Synchro” and “Fallen Over” can only further her fan base. A nostalgic pop track, Dougall’s vocals float over the descending bassline and pacey drums perfectly as she sings of the difficulties that come with a relationship. How we often stumble, but these troubles are continually worth it.

Dougall has been careful to take her time with her return. Quietly making sure her sound grows organically with limited release singles, bedroom recordings and the like. She admits this single itself has gone through a few incarnations before its recording and right now she sounds like she's trying to find her own sound and style. But this single is encouraging stuff and with an album ‘Without Why’ due out next year, it seems Rose Elinor Dougall will dispel any notion of the difficulties that come with going solo.

Century Media Records Sampler

Reviewed by Tom “Various Artists” Waldron

Century Media has since 1988 been one of the world’s foremost independent Rock and Metal labels, finding home, at one time or another to influential metal bands such as Celtic Frost, Eyehategod, Napalm Death and Tony Hadley (Oh hang on a second…). So needless to say it’s a name that carries considerable weight in the metal world.Kicking off this sampler are Fu Manchu whose groovy “stoner” rock vibe recalls Kyuss or Hawkwind albeit with a more straight forward rock feel. It’s enjoyable enough but if you want to hear this kind of music at its finest you’d be better off listening to Corrosion of Conformity, any of Wino’s musical output (the Obsessed, Spirit Caravan etc.) or of course Black Sabbath. Nevertheless this is cool and a welcome departure from much of today’s totally castrated “Rock” music.

Next up are Dark Tranquillity, one of many Melodic Death Metal bands from Sweden. Unsurprisingly there’s a definite Iron Maiden influence here but that’s all I can find to commend here, as I’m not a fan of the troll vocals, overused and clichéd harmonics on the guitars, the crowd being too high in the mix (it’s a live song.) and the masturbatory keyboards. Gothenburger.

Hey Prog’s back! It’s cool to like Prog again! We can wear Kaftans! Alright! Well I don’t think if you are a fan of progressive rock you care too much for trends but there has been a noticeable resurgence in the genre’s popularity not that Transatlantic (that’s a terrible, terrible band name, yeah I know you have members from both sides of the Atlantic I get it) are spring chickens: its members hailing from Dream Theatre, The Flower Kings, Marillion and Spock’s beard (Now that’s a great band name, I bet all the hot chicks want to bang the dudes from Spock’s beard.) There’s a definite “Yes” vibe to the material here (Yeah I know what “Yes” sound like, how am I still single?) By all rights I should hate this with a passion but its fun to listen to and the musicianship’s stellar.

Shadow Gallery are another proggy band with a rubbish name and silly keyboards. But there’s some interesting riff work going on here and the singer sounds a bit like Bruce Dickinson. If you’re into widdly prog metal this is for you. It’s pure cheese but I guess that’s the point.

What’s this! Prog metal! Again! Los Angeles based Redemption combine technical riffing, oddly funky basslines and yep you guessed it cheesy keyboards which display a bit of a rainbow influence (the band not the T.V. show, although the influence of zippy and co. wouldn’t go a miss.) This is technically proficient stuff but it doesn’t really stand out.

Now I remember Inme from when I was 13 or something like that. And whilst they’ve improved since then this is fairly horrible modern rock tripe

Finally we have Oceansize providing some interesting post-rock. Is that a xylophone I hear in there? Nice! I’d probably recommend this to Radiohead and Slint fans and it certainly comes as a breath of fresh air after all the bands trying and mostly failing to be heavy on this sampler.

The Unkindness of Ravens - Accelerator/Yours Forever

Reviewed by Stephen Ferrell

The first track from this double a-side is clearly aimed at the Indie dance floor. I can see it working very well in that context as well. Though the track is nothing particularly ground breaking or special. The sparsely programmed drum machine and heavily distorted bass dominate the sound spectrum. I am generally a fan of distorted bass but it doesn’t really work in this track. The dominance of the beats and bass Leave little room for the vocals, which are well performed. Though they are let down by poor lyrics. It’s difficult to see this track working in any context other then a club. The second track Yours forever has more depth to it though. This is largely because the again excellent vocals are given much more room in the mix. I can hear real potential in this track. The drum programming is again very sparse but this time it fits the feel of the track. The guitar works well and uses effects well without trying to dominate the track. Overall this is a much better track.


Personal Space Invaders - Not My Boyfriend

Reviewed by Stephen Ferrell

I have to say I found the radio edit of this track pretty disappointing on first listen. Though it does seem to grow on you after a few listens. This sound is nevertheless a bit out of fashion currently. It seems as though they were aiming for an early Futureheads/ Maximo park inspired sound. this may have worked well a few years back but its difficult to see the market for it currently. There are however a couple of interesting remixes on this single. The DJ men in masks remix seeks to combine the post-punk sound with some elements of dubstep. It is good in places but still sounds quite disjointed. The really impressive track to me though is the Lethem Remix. It takes the track and adds some classic dub elements. The dub influence in early post punk seems to have been largely ignored by most post punk revivalists. Which makes this mix so much more impressive. The use of tape delay and echo would have made king tubby proud. This remix really is excellent.

4/5 mainly for the Lethem remix

Danger's Close and The Destructors - Scheinkunde Split

Reviewed by "Handsome" Tom Waldron

Now what we have hear is a split single from two up and coming punk bands. First up are Danger’s close (isn’t it great that they have a comma in their name! Punk with grammar! Finally!) The male/female vocal combination works well and reminds me of The Rezillos and to a lesser extent the great ‘X’ from Los Angeles. But with a far more aggressive approach than the two aforementioned bands. On a less positive note the lead guitar was a bit sloppy and not in a good sloppy way either. But if you are into punk and hungry for new bands you could do a lot worse than check these guys out.

Next up are the Destructors from Peterborough and I cannot help but hear the influence of Newcastle’s own Black metal pioneers Venom when I listen to this, I can’t be sure whether it’s intentional or not but I like it that the singer sounds a fair bit like Cronos from Venom (note to bands giving yourselves wicked cool pseudonyms is always a good idea.) Lyrically the Destructors are very standard fare for a punk band and perhaps a different approach might be a good idea. My personal favourite track here was the less than one minute long “Sewage worker” which had a nice bit of early 80’s hardcore fury to it. So in conclusion, nothing mind blowing here but it’s enjoyable enough.

Jyl Millard - Ace of Spades

Reviewed by "Synthesiser" Tom Waldron

Q: “Who would win in an arm wrestling match Lemmy or God”

A: “Trick question, Lemmy is God”

And with that oft-quoted line from the movie “Airheads” my foray into the world of electronica covers of Motorhead songs begins… I’ll have to admit my knowledge of Electro is a bit rubbish, I mean I don‘t even know who “Toxic Pete” is although I think he may have appeared on Channel 4’s “Nathan Barley” but I can’t be sure. However I’m an expert on all things Lemmy so I’ll approach this from that angle. Judging from the songs press release it would seem that part of Jyl’s agenda was to offend the hairys and have them muttering on about how “metal rules” and “that techno crap belongs on mars” and so on. I’m sorry to say that I’m a rock fan and I didn’t hate this, didn’t love it either (sorry Jyl!) Novelty versions of songs aren’t really my cup of tea but I kind of dug the approach taken to Fast Eddie Clarke’s guitar work on this version: it’s been slowed down giving it a very bluesy vibe illustrating how Motorhead is underneath all that volume, and there’s a lot of volume involved, (go see them live in November if you doubt this, yes that is a plug.) essentially a blues-rock band in the tradition of the Yardbirds. The B-side here is a Millard original called “Slo and Crazy” and this track shows the Portishead influence in her music and works far better now that the novelty factor is gone.


Saturday, 10 October 2009

Quiznam Vigilo Vigilo by The Destructors

Reviewed by Tom "Sid" Waldron

Y’know what I’m not going to go into what “Quiznam Vigilo Vigilo” means and Y’know why I’m not going to? Because I’m punk and I don’t care. Hey, Screw ya! What are you lookin’ at and so on. Er yeah this is my second review of the Destructors musical output and I really don’t feel the description of the band as a “Scuzz Detroit garage punk rock band from Peterborough” is really fitting. I’m not denying their Peterborough heritage but I don’t get the Detroit connection. For me any mention of “the motor city” conjures up images of the MC5, the Stooges and the Alice Cooper band amongst others and when I think of those bands my eyes glaze over, I drool incessantly and there’s a warm feeling in my trousers and alas this particular E.P didn’t do that for me. Not that this isn’t an enjoyable little collection: imagine the kind of Punk band that’s is a staple on Hellcat records fronted by a less pissed off and less Geordie version of Cronos from Venom and you’ve got the right idea. My personal favourites here included “State Control” which had a nifty little solo section and the Vindictives cover because any song with a chorus of “you cunt” is alright with me.


Friday, 9 October 2009

Mercurius – Come On In

Reviewed by James Tabbinor

The press release for this debut album from Mercurius claims that they have a fresh sound that is ‘purposely meandering off the course of current music trends’ and I’d have to agree. Yes, this album does have a sound that is different to what we hear on the radio these days, but only because it seems to have revisited the trends of pop/rock from a decade or so ago. It sounds very outdated, purely because at times the lyrics sound as generic as those of Oasis, other times the lead guitar sounds like a cross between James and The Charlatans, it all combines to create the feeling that you’ve heard this record before.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not terrible, but it isn’t great either, it’s just frustratingly competent and I’m afraid to say at times a bit formulaic. I’m not saying that on an album each song should be strikingly different from the one preceding, but there’s only so many times you can listen to a song that begins with hard hitting chords and riffs, brings it down for a slow middle eight, then returns to hard hitting chords and riffs. Lather, rinse, repeat.

‘Comfort Zone’, which I’m led to believe will be the debut single, is alright but to be honest the standout track on this album was ‘Confidence’, because it did sound different, at least to the rest of the album, and admittedly there was sporadic glimpses of this freshness throughout, but never consistently enough to warrant the claims of being ‘distinctive’ and ‘original’. Decent they are, groundbreaking they ain’t.


The Lancashire Hotpots – The Beer Olympics

Reviewed by James Tabbinor

Well, there isn’t a great deal to say about the latest single from The Lancashire Hotpots, because, being a novelty folk band, it’s very much a novelty record. The lyrics are all comic and tongue in cheek musings on a beer drinking event at the 2012 Olympics, in which binge-drinking Britain would undoubtedly triumph with help from the wisdom of personal trainer Johnny Vegas. The B-sides are much in the same fashion, with ‘Mek Us A Brew’ being a lament to drinking tea, and a scathing attack on fancy latte serving coffee joints, and the dance mix of ‘The Beer Olympics’ is again tongue in cheek, with the backing track being in the vein of ‘Cotton-eye Joe’ and other such cheesy dance.

It’s funny, I’ll give them that, and people might say I shouldn’t take it so seriously but I can’t give them anything more than a poor score, purely because like most novelty records the novelty wears off long before you’ve reached the end of the track, sorry lads!


Track Listing: Speciality, it’s novelty folk for Christ’s sake!

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Joshua Mellor - Award

Reviewed by Sammy Newman

Some over synthesized, bland, generic turd. I’m sorry Joshua, not even flicking up the autotune (the funny Cheer voice machine) can hide the fact that your voice isn’t great and you are lost inbetween trying to be a wannabe Sam Sparrow with a poppy dance track, or wanting to demonstrate an urban track with guitars for a song to pick up the ladies. However, unlike Mr. Sparrow I doubt your attempt to be even be a one hit wonder might be out of your reach with that track.


Revere - As Radars Sleep

Reviewed by Sammy Newman

An endearing track with nice orchestral, indie feel but it seems to lack that great epicness which can make you immerse yourself into this type of tune in an “arcade fire” like fashion. Too much happy glockenspiel, lacking that aggressive edge and it leaves you feeling that your grandma is giving you a bedtime melody when all you want to do is have an adrenaline fuelled bungee jump.


Diarmaid O Meara - Murdering Disco

Reviewed by Stephen Ferrell

Diarmaid O Meara’s Murdering disco is the latest release on O Meara’s own Gobsmacked label. The track certainly comes from the lighter side of club techno. The deep persistent kick displays this Belfast born DJ/ producer’s techno roots. Though the synth sounds owe much more to trance. The use of filters also displays an influence of euphoric trance. As does the phasing effect which gives the track a much more laid back vibe then would often be associated with straight up techno. The disco sounding percussion that drops in and out of the track could also find favour on many a house dance floor. It fits well into the current trend for cross over between many of the once deeply divided dance sub genres. It would be easy to imagine this track fitting into a wide variety of DJ’s sets. Although it’s very much a track aimed towards the club it’s laid back feel would make it suitable to be listened to away from that environment as well. Its nothing revolutionary but it is very well produced. The Disco Murderer B side is a slightly darker track but should still work well in the right clubs.