|singles - current and forthcoming releases...|
BANDITS The Warning (Centro Del Blanco)
And yes amigos, it is another banch of 60s riff thieving Scousers but when they are this good we tear up the charge sheet. A rollicking humdinger that sounds like one of those F-A-B hits that has you humming along because you cant decipher the lyrics. Legend of Xanadu springs to mind, minus the whip cracks. Crackin tune though.THE PANDA GANG Ease Up (BDI Recordings)
"Ease Up" is this Southport's band fourth single and is a cross between Northern Soul and the music of early 1990's Liverpool (think Real People). The track is a well polished affair. The lead singers voice is quite striking but musically the track needs a couple of plays for it to grow on you. On the first play it seems to be a nonentity but play it again and the hooks start to pull you in. Catchy, interesting and well worth a listen.
What are the putting in their scouse on Merseyside at the moment? Every week seems to bring another bunch of six stringed desperados, randomly pilfering from the Good, Bad and Ugly from the past and making it their own. Devils Deal sounds like a Beatle car joy ridden by Jim Morrison with Lonnie Donegan hanging onto the bonnet and for a first release its pretty impressive. Theres a hint of The Specials in their experimental days about B-side Six Foot Man and Zutonkhamuun is predictably an Egyptian instrumental.
A rousing single with fluttering piano and a military-style drumbeat thats melodic, rhythmic and sets hearts racing in its too short lifetime. Of the other tracks, For Liberty is a sub-1 minute fragment, all strummed guitar and reflectiveness, while Request Pharmaceuticals is meaty and beat-y and sounds like a contender for the album Universal Truths and Cycles.
The Crescent are in danger of being trodden under the rush of far more interesting music emitting from their Liverpool neighbours, the Coral, the Bandits and the Zutons. What just about saves it from fairly tedious dad rock is the excellent lead guitar work and drumming. However its still a disappointment following the excellent debut of a few months ago.
Oh, here we go, I thought. Before I'd even heard the songs, the photo on the inside sleeve said it all: four young men in shirts, ties and jeans. I knew what to expect. A serious case of Stroke-itis? Thankfully, my diagnosis was premature. [Enough already with the medical talk- Ed]. Opener A Thousand may seem short enough, but singer Seb Wesson's distinctive voice makes it instantly memorable. Track 2 and future single If You Want Me In sounds musically like something Jeff Buckley could have written, floating between the heavy guitar chorus and the softer acoustic verses. Lovely. All indie-rock should be like this. Medicine is enjoyable enough and on Mariana's Trench Wesson sounds like a rocked-up Richard Ashcroft at times. A Thousand Ep is an impressive offering from Munkster and comes highly recommended. Keep an eye out for them. They'll be the four blokes wearing the shirt, tie and jeans ensemble.
Neverending- the 3rd single from Bristol four-piece Halo- should do better than their previous two- Cold Light of Day and Sanctimonious- both of which failed to break the Top 40. I haven't heard either of them, but Neverending is a good guitar-driven tune and deserves to do well. Lead singer Graeme Moncrieff's vocals are solid enough and mesh well with his bandmates' backing harmonies.
Halo seem like a good indie-rock band - but do they have enough to distinguish themselves from the recent inundation of indie-rock bands? Time- and their forthcoming album Lunatic Ride- will tell. If nothing else, Neverending is worth a listen. It's pleasant, easy on the ears and catchy enough. In short, it's fine.
ETIENNE Action (Mantra)
Saint Etienne bounce back from the disappointing sales of their last album Good Humour with chanteuse Sarah Cracknell seemingly having had vocal training. Her previously brittle vocals seem more rounded and additionally the tune sees them dip their toe in Kylie territory, an upbeat Eurodisco number, not unpleasant and of course suitably camp. Oh and theres no mention of any London Underground stations either. Lumme. Second track Andersen Unbound is understated, slow and moody, ever so slightly French and not a mile away from Hobart Paving.
Second UK release for yet another tipped New York band. Pool Song is a lovely melodic midtempo number pitched somewhere between Weezer and the Strokes, the latter with whom they have toured. Charming and summer fresh. Second track Only Just Hang On is also strong, a simple plodding Flaming Lips style ballad with chimes, brushed snare and rising and falling organ.
Produced by Jim Reid and Ben Lurie of Jesus and Mary Chain renown, Give Me a Riot is a slow, rumbling song that starts gently, broods on neighbourhood racism (The kids round here wont live in fear if we fight back) and simmers into mild controlled distortion and a familiar JAMC type rhythm. You wont get it the first time, but its definitely a grower. Swing Low Stuart (a witty tale of suburban Domination/submission lifestyle) wont dispel Belle and Sebastian comparisons even if we reckon theres more a nod to the Go-Betweens here: bizarre also in that after 2 or so minutes of perfect pop narration it completely changes tack into unexpected distortion and feedback effects. Things quieten down with The Sadness of Things, and its mournful violin and keyboard. Three slices of brilliant, intelligent pop. If only you knew it.
Assured in your face debut from a young student band from Nottingham determined to take on the Yanks at their own game. This is scorching maximum rock n roll and shows they can recreate their terrific live performance in a studio. Superfuck is exactly what it says on the tin, a looping guitar and feedback rock popshot with great screamed vocals. Forty Nights continues in that throbbing vein with final track 7 Miles from Intrex, a subtler marching tune with violin accompaniment. They make The Music seem like an overrated bunch of northern oiks and Oasis like tired old men. Welcome to your new local heroes.
Thankfully not a
version of the song last brutally mugged by The Anti-Nowhere League. On these three songs about bedsits, lost dreams
and junkies, The Parkinsons knock Richard Hell off his bike as they try to parallel park
between the Damned and Generation X. Despite
Alfonsos strident but discordant vocals, the EP is lifted above bog-standard punk by
Victors guitar playing, particularly on Bedsit City with a riff as insistent
as Shot By Both Sides. By
contrast, Somerstown is a jaunty dose of Mediterranean reggae with a pedal steel
decoration. Not just one chord wonders!
Imagine Aretha Franklin accompanying De La Soul and you have this excellent motown meets trip hop pop song with piano riff and random bleeps. As catchy as a pecker in a zip and a possible hit for the Waxies.
Marvellously silly pop party effort, sort of The Human League covering Madnesss Night Boat to Cairo. Third track Car Song sounds like Belle and Sebastian gone rocky. Two sides of a lovely shiny penny. Buy.
This is melodic pop-grunge with plenty of raw emoting. Chicagoans Matthew sound a little like the Manic Street Preachers or the Vines, with the beat-heavy Streams a second cousin to the latters Highly Evolved. Its backed by two ballads, the second of which, Stay, is an excellent angst-ridden Radiohead-sounding number, with yearning vocals and gently weeping guitar.
Cool is precisely what the Moonies are not. Squeezed into their tight two tone sta-prest suits and black rollnecked sweaters, they sing about Getting out of Liverpool when you know they actually only have a day trip to Runcorn in them. The tune itself is actually ok, all bobbing heads and cheery chorus and I dare say they are good fun live so lets try not be too harsh, eh.
One of the oddest bands on planet earth, the Spree describe themselves as a choral symphonic pop band, which only partially hints at their make-up, eleven musicians playing just about every instrument you can imagine and a dozen vocalists. Yes, that twenty three in total. Oh and they wear white robes. They are a happy clappy version of Mercury Rev and this is wonderfully euphoric. Groovy website too at http://www.thepolyphonicspree.com/main.html. Halleluiah!
Kick in the Eye are a country rock n skiffle duo from BC, Canada and if you like your music to be quirky, catchy and slightly bluesy then these are your dudes. Opener Shake Your Hips is an old Slim Harpo number but Marians accented vocals give it a fresh twist. Hurricane is great, simple bluesy pop with a nice riff, sort of Plastic Bertrand playing Hotel Yorba. Stop Messing My Heart Around is warm Beach Boys harmonies and toe tappably infectious. Theres no filler on here as even the last two tracks on this EP are enjoyable. More info at http://www.kickintheeyemusic.com