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Singles Bar: July 2006

We've listed singles/EPs/demos in order of star rating. Best first.

CHRIS SINGLETON Worry Number One Website

Dublin based singer/songwriter and one with more song writing talent in his little finger than James Blunt possesses in his whole body!

He tips his hat musically to the greats including the Beatles and the Kinks whilst neatly adding modern loops and programming. 'Worry Number One' is a real feel-good summer tune and should be a hit if there is any musical justice in this world.

The other song on here, 'The Only One' hints more at modern contempories such as Belle & Sebastian and Dogs Dies In Hot Cars. Great tunes and looking forward to the full album. ****½

Review by Jason Ritchie

MONEEN If Tragedy Is Appealing, Then Disaster's An Addiction (Download only) Website

Now this little beauty rocks and then some! Not in a metal way but more a cracking piece of alternative rock and listen out for those subtle drum rolls and harmony vocals midway through the track. This is what a single is all about – an instant tune that sits in your mind after just one play and you just keep wanting to play it more. Superb! ****½

Review by Jason Ritchie

TOTO Bottom of Your Soul Frontiers

A four track single to tie'in with the band's European summer tour. You get the radio edit and full version of 'Bottom of Your Soul', one of the best songs on the band's rather good new album.

Plus a live version of 'Gypsy Train' and a live medley of their big 80's hits 'Africa' and 'Rosanna' with a bit of 'Bottom of Your Soul'. A nice little single package and available in a collector's sleeve (although this being a promo copy I can't comment on that). Hopefully it can generate some airplay for the band as they are ideal for the digital rock stations and indeed Radio 2 in the UK. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie

ROB McCULLOCH Something Abuse GRCL Records

A follow'up single to his excellent last single 'Planet Of My Own'. Three tracks on this one and the title track sees Rob McCulloch backed by a full band. Again it is another radio friendly tune that highlights his fine vocals ' this tune sounds like something Echo & the Bunnymen may have done.

The other two tracks have a more stripped back acoustic approach and again you just marvel at this man's song writing and vocals. One of the best singer/songwriters I've discovered in the past year or so and for once one whop lives up the hype on a press release. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie

UXL Can I Dream Again EP

UXL are hotly tipped to be one of the major rock breakthrough acts in 2006. And from first listen to their debut EP (it'll be followed by an album in the autumn) it's easy to see why. For a band with an average age of only 18 they have a massive sound, play remarkably mature melodic rock, and in 17'year'old singer John Tierney have a vocalist of rare talent.

A four piece from Birmingham ' the Tierney brothers on vocals, guitar and drums with Dan Clark on bass ' UXL sound like a band who've worked the circuits for a decade or more and have a remarkably polished sound for a band only 3 years old.

In truth they sound as if the have American roots ' Can I Dream Again has shades of Evanescence and would go down a storm Stateside. Promised Land opens with atmospheric vocals in classic John Wetton style before exploding into a melodic but hard'hitting number somewhere between Free and Asia. John's vocals are stunning.

New Dawn Waiting is a 7'minute heavy rock epic ' wonderful riffs, wonderful vocals, and wonderful guitar playing underpinned by a rock solid rhythm section. If the album can maintain this level of material, UXL are destined for greatness. ****

Review by Pete Whalley

MIGHTY SIX NINETY Keeping You In Mind (Kids)

Mighty Six Ninety ' a San Diego outfit specialising in melodic rock inspired by The Smiths, Talk Talk and Depeche Mode ' release their second single Keeping You In Mind through Kids in August.

It's a polished piece of quality pop backed by the equally With Me ' available on strictly limited 7' vinyl only. And, of course, vinyl buyers get free MP3s of both. And as an added bonus vinyl buyers get striking gatefold cover artwork by Brooklyn based graffiti artist John 'Crash' Matos.

But never mind the packaging the real quality on offer here is the music. ****

Review by Pete Whalley

ASSEMBLY NOW It's Magnetic/Out On 24s (Kids)

Four'piece indie outfit Assembly Now are South London's latest answer to the Arctics. It's Magnetic ' their debut single ' is a fast and furious number combining pop, punk, rock and pop with a healthy dose of street cred. But what's with the Justin Hawkins vocals? For all that Justin gets a rough ride from the critics, there's more than one upcoming group who use his trademark falsetto.

Double A side Out On 24s, is more Arctics meets the Smiths with a less tight fitting pair of pants. Again it's a catchy little number.

Competition is pretty fierce in this part of the market but there's enough here to suggest that Assembly Now could go the distance. ****

Review by Pete Whalley

TURKU ROMANTIC MOVEMENT / Neil LEYTON Fading Ways Finland Website

This 4 track 7" EP is split between two artists ' oh the joy of the vinyl format. A decent card sleeve thick vinyl ' lovely.

Turku Romantic Movement are an established Finnish rock band who now sing in English (previously recording as Turun Romantikka and singing in Finnish), the 2 tracks 'Animals' and 'Generation Updated' are hard rock, sleazy, fun, indie. Should catch some fans.

Neil Leyton's 2 tracks are a sleazy guitar pop/rock, and were produced by Ginger (Wildhearts). 'Lie To Me' could easily top the charts and 'Fires' is more classic rock with pub rock / new wave overtones.

Decent music, and Long Live Vinyl. Search out! ****

Review by Joe Geesin

RAY LAMONTAGNE Trouble (14th Floor Records)

Trouble is the title track from Ray LaMontagne's highly acclaimed debut album produced by Ethan Jones (Ryan Adams, Kings Of Leon) and is starting to take off in the UK and the US. It's also getting heavy airplay on Radio 2.

Brought up on a cocktail of Stephen Stills, Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Otis Redding, the Trouble album was recorded in just two weeks at Sunset Sounds in LA most of the songs being recorded live with LaMontagne playing guitar and singing and Johns later laying down the drum bass and piano parts.

It's radio friendly soft rock of an extremely high quality - somewhere between Ryan Adams, Van Morrison and Otis Redding. ****

Review by Pete Whalley

ROBIN GUTHRIE Everlasting EP (Rocket Girl)

With his acclaimed Continental album only just in the shops, the prolific Robin Guthrie releases his Everlasting ep featuring 4 exclusive instrumental tracks on 24 July.

Recorded after the Continental sessions ' alongside another 4 tracks featured on the Waiting For Dawn tour'only ep ' this is ambient music to oil the wheels of the imagination.

Remember Tangerine Dream at their ambient best, remember Lennon asking us to 'imagine'? Well, the 4 tracks on offer here provide the perfect soundtrack for watching the clouds roll by.

Guthrie is also working on new albums with Harold Budd and John Foxx, both due out in the autumn. ***½

Review by Pete Whalley

THE MORENAS My Violent Femme Bleach records

Based on the singers ex'girlfriend nonetheless! It is a feisty little number with good riffs and catchy chorus. 'Coming Home' also follows suit and both tunes bode well for the band's new album due in the autumn. ***½

Review by Jason Ritchie

PETER BRAME Wake Up Website

Apparently he was 4th placed on UK TV's 'Fame Academy' and has had his rock 'n' roll lifestyle all over the papers. Nowadays he is calmer and plays golf a lot! Musically this single brings to mind the Black Crowes jamming with a glam rock band and it is not a bad tune at all.

The other track though, 'Waiting For' is an ill advised acoustic number which doesn't really work. This could be a hot or he may just disappear into obscurity like most other 'talent' TV people! ***½

Review by Jason Ritchie

COCO ELECTRIC Apple Pie (Oscillation Records)

Following on from the success of Sex Shooter and Your Love Is Gum, Coco Electric (aka Anne Booty) release their 3rd single form their debut album Army Behind The Sun at the end of July.

It's sleazy pared down and infectious electronic pop, while the B'side ' a Skylab Remix adds glitter / glam beats ' weird. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

JON OLIVA'S PAIN Straight Jacket Memoirs EP (AFM)

The first impression I get from this is that Jon Oliva looks like a cliché middle aged metal fan you'd stand next to at gigs. Secondly the cover is Spinal Tapp'ish.

So onto the music, solid trad metal with keyboards, strained vocals, polished, neo classical metal leanings.

The vocals don't quite suit the music, which is far more polished than Oliva's strains and growls. When the both match in the power metal you do get some good moments.

Some great musical moments, and interesting and some that sound work so well. A good taster to the forthcoming album. ***

Review by Joe Geesin

The HEDRONS Be My Friend (Measured Record)

The band's new single from their forthcoming album. Uptempo indie rock'n'roll from an all female band. Cliché formula but with more substance, should do OK at the heavy guitar end of chart music. ***

Review by Joe Geesin

JOHNNY PANIC Happy Together Propaganda Records Website

A summer single and a cover of the 60's classic by the Turtles along with a new track 'I Live For'. This new track is a good little rocker, however the cover doesn't work as you can't really turn this classic into a punk pop tune. If you haven't heard the original you would like this otherwise you will be not impressed! ***

Review by Jason Ritchie


Another female vocalist enters the crowded fray being likened to Joss Stone and Kelly Clarkson. Vocally Harvey'Smart (hardly the most catchy surname in music!) is fine but the three songs on here are just plain bland I am afraid. As my wife succinctly put it when listening to this single it is the sort of music you hear at garden centres. Harsh but true I am afraid. You watch now she will become a top 10 star! ***

Review by Jason Ritchie

WEAPONS Love Is Thunder

Not bad but I always think a single should hook you in form its first play and then have you wanting to play it more and more.

The music mixes a bit of riffage with dance like beats and it tries to sound catchy and aggressive but sadly falls short. Vocally reminded me of Hazel O'Connor for some reason! **½

Review by Jason Ritchie

KATE RYAN Je T'adore Website

Big in Belgium is not normally something you see or hear each day but this lady is indeed a number one artist in her native Belgium and indeed in other European nations.

Musically this is inoffensive Europop albeit sung by a very capable vocalist. Mind you if I never hear the Godawful dub mix I will be a happy man!

I played this to my seven year old daughter and a keen fan of this style of music (along with ELO, Green Day and the RHCP it has to said!) and she was not impressed, saying it was 'okay'.

Very much doubt this will appeal to rock fans, maybe the cover photo! **½

Review by Jason Ritchie

MY AWESOME COMPILATION Awake (Sorepoint) Website

The band have supported some big names including Fall Out Boy and Funeral For A Friend although sadly this is a very average tune. There are many bands out there peddling this type of 'sunshine' anthems. Some will like it but for me I can live without it! **½

Review by Jason Ritchie

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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