Friday, 26 February 2010

Trail - City

Reviewed by Joel Hawkins

Described as an “Editors-esque song”, I was very excited to be given the chance to review ‘City’, a new single by the up and coming London based group, Trail. I am a huge fan of The Editors and their style of music so could not wait to see how the bands compare. ‘City’ is a good quality song with a haunting grooved bass line and melancholic rock riff, but just doesn’t seem to catch my attention. A well performed track but without the IT factor. It was like going on a date with a beautiful girl, perfect figure, stunning hair (and a great rack) but all she talked about was her pet cat “Ginger”. ‘City’ has a good ‘shell’ but without anything inside to make it that fantastic song. Trail has the potential to become a huge act, but it will almost certainly not be with this song. Definitely too early in their career to be compared to the likes of The Editors.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Ian De Sylva – Josephine EP

Reviewed by James Fairfield

A highly enjoyable indie track from the ex Silver front man equipped with a decent and continuous instrument backing and vocals. A perfectly suitable track for any one looking for a little bit of alternative rock.

The B-side, Gas Electricity Phone, is more classic rock orientated but still acts as a solid accompaniment to the single.

Reaction B

Parasol – My Luminaries

Reviewed by James Fairfield

Fresh after winning the Glastonbury emerging talent competition alternative rockers My Luminaries release their first single Parasol off their impressive debut album Order From The Chaos.

The single itself is an original and authentic piece of alternative rock that shows that this a bad with the potential to become very successful on the indie market and with a gig at the upcoming Glastonbury festival only good times seem to lie ahead.

Reaction A

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Ice Black Birds - The Playground

Reviewed by Tom “Grand Funk” Waldron

Before I even listen to these guys I have to air a couple grievances regarding self consciously old school rock music. There are two kinds of these type of bands the ones who end up sounding like authentic, honest and no bullshit tributes to the bands they grew up with Giving off the air of actually being born too late and those who come across as a cheap watered down parody of Black Sabbath or Zeppelin or what have you (*Cough* Wolfmother *Cough*) And upon listening to these guys it becomes clear that they’re not a cheap Spinal Tap without the jokes style parody, They’re not amazing either but there’s enough to recommend here; the vocal harmonies are a very nice touch and all in all I’m very much reminded of a clunkier more- ‘indie’ sounding version of Witchcraft from Sweden.

Unfortunately for Ice Black Birds this kind of music should make me want to break out my bell bottoms strap on a bandana and take some Quaaludes (Whatever Quaaludes are) but these guys don’t do that. However the following bands do: Saint Vitus, The Obsessed, Pentagram, Down and Cathedral. So in summary if you want some burnt out hippie rock you could do a lot worse but also a lot better than the Ice Black Birds.

Side note: Just saw a band photo and not one of these fuckers is wearing a bandana or bellbottoms they actually look like Razorlight. Rock bands should look like this See kids Mullets! Bad Facial Hair! Jackets and no shirts! Graveyards! This is why you guys don’t rock as hard as you should! By the way I'm not being ironic here at all this shit is key to rocking hard! Also why don't more bands go for the post apocalyptic road warrior look anymore? Those guys clearly meant it! whatever 'it' was.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Archie Bronson Outfit

Reviewed by Tom 'Dangerously Happy' Waldron

‘Holy moly Batman! An exploding shark!’

Now, before I review the hot new platter by the Archie Bronson Outfit a little back story as to how I was roped in to reviewing it. On Wednesday night I was right fucken wrecked and one of the heads of music passed me this and I was all 'The Archie Bunker outfit? Durrr stay outta Riverdale!' I guess my point is that I have been exploited. Anyway what we seem to have here is white guy disco which is funky yet angular but not in a Gang of Four way with some guy singing with a lot of echo and reverb on his voice. And I must say the heavy-psych tag is misleading because that would make me think of Hawkwind… although maybe that’s because I’m old and decrepit. It’s enjoyable enough stuff although not personally my cup of tea so if you’re cooler than me (and who isn’t?) you’d probably enjoy this. Apparently it was produced by DFA’s Tim Goldsworthy who must be some kind of DFU tribute act, so good luck to them with that.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

The Hush Now – Contrails

Reviewed by James Tabbinor

This review is gonna be short, because this band are crap. They sound like they’re fresh off the indie assembly line, the singer sounds like he has flu or something, and it’s just really shitty boring music.

If you’re a fan of Skins (isn’t your life just like Skins? Yeah! Awesome! I’m totally partying and having emotional difficulties ALL THE TIME) then you’ll like this, probably.


Alternative review:


The Strange Boys – Be Brave

Reviewed by James ‘James’ Tabbinor

There’s not a lot to say about this new release by young Texans The Strange Boys, and it’s not particularly favourable. I’ll start off with the bad stuff, so they can have the good stuff for pudding.

Essentially I have two major problems with this single; for starters, the vocals. They’re terrible. Ryan Sambol (lead vocals) cannot sing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of plenty of bands/artists where the singer cannot sing, but they’re voice has something quintessentially gripping and charismatic about it. This guy doesn’t have that edge, he just screeches into the microphone, trying to get a raw, Jagger-esque sound, but just doesn’t pull it off. It’s not pleasant to listen to, and you can barely understand what he’s actually singing.

Now, I’ll go on to the second bad point about this single, which may cut Sambol some slack. It’s the recording, specifically (once again) vocals. Everything else sounds pretty great (which I’ll come to shortly) but the quality of the vocals is shocking. Both the lead and backing vocals sound really, really tinny, a bit like Sambol is singing down a phone line. This single, and it’s poor recording, really doesn’t bode well for the forthcoming album (also entitled ‘Be Brave’). Might I add that if this tinny sound is intentional, then it was a really poor decision production wise.

Now, those are the two things that got my goat, and it’s a real shame because the rest of the single actually sounds pretty good. It’s got a really nice bluesy riff that’s reminiscent of The Rolling Stones, or even Chuck Berry. Listening to this was actually really refreshing because it sounds nothing like the sort of bands that are coming off the indie assembly line at the moment. It’s just a massive shame that this has to be hindered by what is essentially a poor singer.

All in all I’m gonna split my score in two; what was essentially nice bluesy rock n’ roll was let down by shocking vocals. As such the music gets a 3/5, and the vocals a 1.

Lucius – Enemy

Reviewed by Padraig Gilhooley

Enemy, the new single from welsh band, Lucius – the vehicle for singer-songwriter Luke Morgan, is an infectious synth-pop/rock record with a chorus that will remain in your head for longer than you’ll probably want it to. Citing influences including Nine Inch Nails and Beck, Lucius’ Enemy is more akin with the likes of La Roux, which while being no bad thing in itself, the song is not likely to push any boundaries.


Saturday, 6 February 2010

Fan Death- A Coin For The Well

Reviewed by Phil Boardman

Fan Deaths EP “A Coin For The Well” is a mash up of the sounds of electronic 80’s and a modern spin on 70’s disco. The opening track “Reunited” has a more melancholic and simpler sound which is very effective. However the EP soon picks up tempo with tracks like “Cannibal” and “Power Surge” which really brings you back to the sounds of the 70’s disco. I really feel with this EP it is great to listen to whether you want to chill out with the relaxing vocals or dance around with the up tempo disco beats.

Reaction B

Friday, 5 February 2010

Mamas Gun - Wishing/Finger On It

Reviewed by Rob Denby

Amidst the mass of indie and europop acts to hit the chart over the past decade, it’s refreshing to hear a sound based not on the musical stylings of Oasis, or which is centred around a monotonous bass line masking a repetitive melody. Mamas Gun have already achieved success in Japan and their new double A side single, ‘Wishing/Finger On It’, demonstrates a unique sound with inspiration coming from the likes of Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye.

‘Wishing’ is a fantastic track with soft vocals transcending a funky blend of soul, pop and jazz. The song features an incredibly catchy rhythm and its composition builds to a crescendo of upbeat musical contentment. Meanwhile, ‘Finger On It’ is the bouncy younger brother to Wishing’s controlled adult demeanour. A fast-paced track with a Jamiroquai-esque beat, it’s clear that Mamas Gun have got what it takes to tackle the UK chart.


Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Animal Kingdom – Two by Two

Reviewed by Adam Williams

Described as ‘Sigur Ros meets Radiohead’ the London based four-piece are really closer to middle of the road bands like Keane, Coldplay and Snow Patrol that have dominated the charts in recent years.

Two by Two is a well constructed single which contains a familiar dose of soft rock, inoffensive vocals and an uplifting chorus which will is will no doubt go down well with its target market. Their generic rock sound offers little to distinguish them from the pack but this single is perfectly listenable.

Reaction B

You Me at Six – The Consequence

Reviewed by Adam Williams

Emo pop-rockers You Me at Six return with The Consequence, the first track off their new album Hold Me Down. This new track continues the familiar pop-punk sound of their debut album but brings a more polished than their previous tracks, losing some of the band’s raw charm in the process.

More socially acceptable than My Chemical Romance and with a more mainstream sound than contemporaries Funeral for a Friend, existing fans are sure to lap up the new material but this new song is unlikely to win any new supporters.

Reaction C

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Bombay Bicycle Club - Evening/Morning

Reviewed by James Fairfield

Another enjoyable track from the north London indie rockers. The instrumental is fairly chilled back which benefits the vocals a lot. Overall this single can be played again and again and still be enjoyed as just as much as the first time you hear it.

Nuala Dalton - Breaking the Spell

Reviewed by Clare Russell

Personally, I didn't particualrly enjoy listening to this album and struggled to listen to all 13 songs. The lyrics focused on her feminist views and her opinions about life. I didn't admire the tone of her voice or the slow pace of the songs. It was quite depressing and I wouldnt recommend listening to this artist if you dont enjoy pop/rock.


Owl City - Fireflies

Reviewed by Clare Russell

The lyrics speak of hopes and dreams but settle straight back to reality and things everyone can relate to. This is definitely a song that everyone needs to listen to. Its a 'feel good' tune, that will certainly lift your mood! Being the current no.1 single proves how popular this catchy song is.


Rhianna - Rude Boy

Reviewed by Clare Russell

As always, Rhiannas voice sounds incredible in this song. The lyrics are arguably the best feature of “Rude Boy.” The sexual lyrics ensure that its memorable 'come on rude boy, can you get it up?'. However, its appeal caters specifically for the younger generation.


Party Dark - Is That You

Reviewed by Sophie Stewart

My immediate reaction to this track was that it sounds quite like something Dizzee Rascal would produce. It is catchy and upbeat, a great track for getting ready for a night out. I think these guys are onto something good, and could do well for themselves in 2010. 'Is That You?' is an awesome tune that I hope will be in the clubs very soon.


Tiesto - Who Wants to be Alone

Reviewed by Sophie Stewart

'Who Wants To Be Alone?' is the new track featuring Nelly Furtado. It is not what you would expect from a Tiesto track – there are no pumping beats and no catchy chorus, and I can’t see it being played in clubs like many of Tiesto’s other tracks. It is not a fast track, and I would have trouble dancing to it! However there are other remixes of the song on the CD, and the Robbie Rivera Juicy Radio Edit transforms the track into a club classic. I feel that the track should be Nelly Furtado feat. Tiesto, not Tiesto feat. Nelly Furtado.


Alan Pownall

Reviewed by Sophie Stewart

This album sampler consists of 5 tracks and my immediate reaction was to relate the music to Jack Johnson. The tracks are very acoustic-based, with some slower songs like “Colourful Day”, and some catchier, more upbeat songs like “Chasing Time”. Alan has a smooth voice which suits this kind of music and is relaxing and calming. I loved it for chilling out to, some really good songs that would definitely grow on me if I played them more times.


Never Mind the Stars - Holiday

Reviewed by Sophie Stewart

This tune is an upbeat, catchy, feelgood track. It fits perfectly into the electro indie pop bracket, and I honestly love this tune. It really fits in well between other indie music like Alphabeat and the Hoosiers.


OK Go - Of the Blue Colour of the Sky

Reviewed by Joel Hawkins

It is amazing the amount of hits OK Go received (somewhere in the region of 49 million views) for their perfectly choreographed video of “Here it goes again”. But, for saying they have a mainstream video and a mainstream sound, OK Go is definitely not a mainstream band.

The new album “Of the blue colour of the sky” is the third album from the band and has produced some catchy memorable tracks. The lack of musical style has proved an advantage to OK Go in this album, as they have been able to explore their boundaries without disappointing audience expectations.

“WTF?”, the first track, starts the album in a fascinating way as, at times, it seems as though you’re listening to a Prince track, with the funk guitars and vocals provided by front man Damian Kulash. OK Go has maintained their indie style but they have added something different to every track which guarantees to grab the attention of the listener.

My personal favourite addition to the album is the stunning acoustic track “Last Leaf”. The band has executed this track to perfection, bringing out a soft, beautiful side to the album which just completes it.

I was particularly looking forward to this album coming out as I am a huge OK Go fan. And my expectations have not been disappointed. The band, supported by ‘Flaming Lips’ producer Dave Friedman, has produced yet another fantastic album I know that I will be listening to this album again and again and I am confident that it will grab the attention of many more people and put the band into mainstream, which is where they surely belong.


Monday, 1 February 2010

Hot Chip - One Life Stand

Reviewed by Helen Stephenson

Once again Hot Chip have come out with a belter of a pop dance tune. After listening to ‘One Life Stand’ a couple of times to get a feel for it before reviewing it, I got distracted and went and entertained myself doing other productive activities such as procrastinating about what would happen if the new Pendulum album is a good as that clip on YouTube of ‘Ransom’ suggests it will be. To my surprise, I haven’t been able to get ‘One Life Stand’ out of my head since. It’s been a week. It is like superglue in my brain. The radio version is perfect for, well, radio, and with the album version being more pure dance music orientated, this song has something for both the general public and those with a slightly more discerning dance taste. It even has a bit of a disco vibe to it, which being another of my secret passions, may be the reason I’m hooked. Granted this isn’t a song that is going to advance Hot Chip’s sound in any way, but it is a bit of fun, and we are all entitled to that.