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Singles Bar: September 2006

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

THE HEDRONS I Need You Measured Records

Follow-up to their successful single, 'Be My Girlfriend' this is another strong, hard edged song from them who have a formidable vocalist in Tippi (shades of Joan Jett at times).

Their debut album comes out early next year and don't be surprised to see this band pick-up rave reviews along the way. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie

THE VINES Don't Listen To The Radio (EMI)

Seemingly doomed to be a footnote in the sad history of bands that might have been (singer Craig Nicholls suffered from debilitating Asperger's Syndrome), The Vines have comeback with a highly-regarded album (Vision Valley) and a brace of catchy singles.

This is one of the most immediate tracks from that CD and smacks of sixties garage-rock with an insistent beat, grinding guitars, and beatnik harmonies. Remember The Knack and My Sharona? Well, it's that sort of vibe. Ironically, given the title, this could get them radio plays. Short, but sweet.****

Review by David Randall

THE HUMAN VALUE Give Me (Bad Deal Records)

The debut single from one of the hottest bands on the LA circuit is a dark brooding number with dark synths and vocals that fall somewhere between Blondie and Pattie Smith. It's pop, but with a seedy grinding rhythms and seductive vocals.

The Human Value are Turu (vocals and keys), Hiram (guitar and vocals) and Lynnae Hitchcock (drums). Together they sport eclectic backgrounds including Russian, Greek, Mexican, Irish and Cuban. Put that together and you get a breath of fresh air in a stale music. With good reason, hailed as the new Siouxsie and The Banshees. ****

Review by Pete Whalley

MEEKY ROSIE Forever (Wandering Star Records)

Taken from the film soundtrack Who Killed The Electric Car?, Meeky Rosie's debut single is a piece of quality pop. It opens with delicate acoustic and gentle vocals before building into rousing harmonies and a crescendo of guitars.

A five piece, formed while studying at Plymouth University, their debut album set for release later this year has been produced by Max Hayes (Primal Scream, Paul Weller, The Doves) and looks set to propel Meeky Rosie into the consciousness of those that rush to buy the output of the likes of Radiohead, Coldplay and The Verve.

The B-side Nothing To Lose suggests they are unlikely to be one hit wonders. ****

Review by Pete Whalley

THE BLACKOUT Hard Slammin'

The title Hard Slammin' suggests your ears are in for a kickin'. And that's exactly what you get - six screamo warriors from Merthyr Tydfil about to rip your balls off with the heaviest sound this sound of a slag heap avalanche.

With high profile support gigs to Lostprophets and Dopamine under their belt, The Blackout play intense contemporary rock of the heavy variety. But the b-side - an acoustic version of High Tide shows that they are capable of moments of gentleness. But when their six track mini album hits the shelves you can expect 25 minutes of tumultuous rock. Get ready to take cover. ****

Review by Pete Whalley

NERINA PALLOT Sophia (14th Floor Records)

Nerina releases a re-recorded version of the wonderful Sophia - one of the standout ballads from her excellent Fires album - as the follow up to her hit single Everybody's Gone To War.

It's a beautiful number, produced by Mitchell Froom, and a track that should cement Nerina's position as one of the foremost singer songwriters on the circuit today. But don't take my word for it - go out and buy the single/album. ****

Review by Pete Whalley

IMOGEN HEAP Headlock (White Rabbit Records)

With her reputation in the States gathering at a frightening pace (thanks to prime musical slots in the TV teen drama The OC), Headlock should see Imogen cement her place of one of the UK's best emerging singer songwriter talents. It's taken from her excellent Speak For Yourself album, and is one of the standout tracks.

It starts with with bells, strings and electronic bubbling, Imogen's cool vocals come in and male voices are used as percussive instrument. The chorus is infectious, the sound draws you in and envelops you. Imogen's vocals layer and layer. It's fresh, it's different and it's exciting. ****

Review by Pete Whalley

RAY LAMONTAGNE - How Come (14th Floor Records)

How Come is the second single to be taken frorm Ray LaMontagne's highly acclaimed debut album produced by Ethan Jones (Ryan Adams, Kings Of Leon) which reached top 10 in the UK. The single also features in the forthcoming David Frankel film The Devil Wears Prada starring Meryl Streep.

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.

How Come is an excellent up-tempo soft rock number - a tight groove, some excellent guitar work and Ray's bluesy, soulful vocals. Terrific. ****

Review by Pete Whalley

SIXNATIONSTATE - Fire! (Jeepster Recordings)

Having launched the careers of Snow Patrol and Belle and Sebastian, SixNationState are Jeepster's first signing for a few years.

And they launch them at 200mph with their debut single fire. It's frantic, frenetic rock with raw vocals and not a million miles away form how Arthur Brown might have sounded if he been starting out today. It's raw, it's emotional and wild.

The B-side Taking Me Over shows an equal level of attack and vocals reminiscent of Ian Dury, while the third track Country Songs shows an element of flexibility - a dark Nick Cave like number. ***½

Review by Pete Whalley

THE MARBLE INDEX I Believe (High Coin Records)

This single precedes their forthcoming album. An energetic 3 piece who's modern indie rock is definitely on the sleazy side with a catchy rhythm and vocals that match the music perfectly. There's some neat guitar work in there too.

Second track 'Lost Cause' is a little smoother with a more of a ballad feel. Back to the garage noise for 'I Surrender'.

Should do very well. ***½

Review by Joe Geesin

MARIE MILLER Fast Lane (Universal) Website

A female vocalist with a nice bit of blues undertone in her voice and as for the tunes well you can't go far wrong if your after a hot and have Guy Chambers (Robbie Williams/World Party) writing for you. A catchy enough tune and Ms Miller has the looks as well to ensure this may well be a hit single. Look forward to hearing a full album of music though. ***½

Review by Jason Ritchie

LUXEMBOURG Sick Of DIY (Dogbox Records)

The second single from London based Luxembourg's debut album Front, a band with a distinctly 80's brought up to date feel think Pulp / Marc Almond / Morrissey, but with a hint of glam.

For your bucks you get the single a catchy up tempo pop number that appears on the album and two bonus tracks not featured on the album Fingers and Changing Trains. Both will appeal to fans, Fingers has an almost ABC feel, while Trains is a wonderful melancholy ballad. ***½

Review by Pete Whalley

THE BROKEN FAMILY BAND You're Like A Woman (Track & Field)

Flagging up a brief October UK tour with a single, this drole punk Americana act have pillaged their catalogue and bolted on a brand new song about a rabbit from Norfolk.

Title track is a re-working of the opener on their press-acclaimed album 'Balls', 'Gavin's Dead' is the bunny bit (sniff) while 'Poor Little Thing''s from their 'Jesus Songs' mini-album. While it's not a must-have if you already sport these releases, it's good stuff, with a hang-dog vocal coupled to break-neck rock with a dash of mariache, blistering distorted guitar work, sly humour.

It all measures up to Roger The Office Idiot's assertion that they are a 'must-see' live act.

Dates at www.thebrokenfamilyband.com and the Netherlands and Spain beckon next. ***

Review by Peter Muir

SOUND TEAM Born To Please

Taken from the band's upcoming debut album 'Movie Monster' the band take a keyboards heavy indie path. Song wise it is a likeable tune although vocalist Matt Oliver does tend to veer into a whiny sound at times. Not bad but it has been done before. ***

Review by Jason Ritchie

LORRAINE Heaven

From Bergan, Norway Lorraine (Ole Gundersen vocals, Anders Winsents Guitar, and Paal Myran-Haaland keyboards) release their second single - Heaven, the follow up to their critically acclaimed debut single I Feel It.

It's melodic rock of the sort that might be the love child of a hot date between New Order or the Pete Shop Boys and A-Ha. Strong melodies, a catchy choruses and driving beats. Nothing to dislike here, it's pleasant fare, but some may consider it too lacking in originality or distinctiveness to make an impact on these shores. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

THE NEUTRINOS Build Him Till He Breaks

Dark and brooding, The Neutrinos peddle their discordant and claustrophobic brand of art-punk- rock out of the quiet East Anglian town of Norwich.

Build Him Till He Breaks kicks you in the face with it's heavy churning guitar riff, Karen Reilly's scathing lyrics and churning delivery. This is female fronted rock of the dangerous kind.

B-side Mother's Mother Tounge, whips up the tempo Sonic Youth style. The band were John Peel favourites, no need to say more. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

LUPEN CROOK A Silver Boot For Sam (Tap N Tin Records)

The second single taken from Lupen Crook's debut album Accident's Occur While Sleeping, available with a selection of four b-sides depending on whether you opt for the cd, 7" vinyl #1 or 7" vinyl #2.

Falling somewhere between Dylan, Neil Young and Donovan the single falls firmly into alt country territory - exploring lost love - with some excellent vocals and fiddle. Of the B-sides, Shake Baby Shake is another gently rolling number with some wonderful vocal harmonies before descending into a chaotic final quarter that jars the nerves. Washing Blood From My Hands is a live version of a previously released B-side. The Hidden Track is a fragile confessional, and The Lost Belonging a rough-cut improvisation. The choice is yours. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

THE TIDES You'll Never Change

Formed in 2003, The Tides are an up and coming band from Manchester. Built around vocalist Liam Pennington's unique androgynous vocal style (think Thom Yorke meets Anthony and The Johnsons), their debut single You'll Never Change is a mid tempo ballad that wouldn't be out of place in a Keane set. But the B-side Fall suggests that their appeal will lie more with the Kasabian, The Fall, Puressence and The Bluetones set. All bands that The Tides have supported. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

DRUGDEALER CHEERLEADER I Don't Wanna Go To School (Pebble Beach Records)

This two track single from London based Drugdealer Cheerleader is a refreshing slab of energetic rock reminiscent of Hanoi Rocks and early Motley Crue, with 'Try To Be Me' sounding very familiar to fans of Scandinavian rock.

The band has a number of shows lined up and should be a good band to catch live. ***

Review by Nikk Gunns

DIAMOND DOGS Generation Upstart (Smilodon)

The first single off of The Diamond Dogs new 'Up The Rock' album. As you would expect from the band, the title track is a sing a long glam, rock n roll, Stones/Faces style track, with 2nd track 'Soul Surrender' reminiscent of 'Exile On Main Street' era Stones.

A great introduction to the album. ***

Review by Nikk Gunns

FANFARLO Talking Backwards (Fortuna Pop)

Ooh - when feeling a tad melancholic, I do like a spot of Scandinavian in the music mix. Fanfarlo delivers the goods with this cute little single hot on the heels of supporting Guillemots amongst others on the live circuit.

The three-piece (two Brits to one Swede) bundle keys, trumpet and bass under Simon Aurell's breathy, vocal to cut a tasty dollop of quirky pop that builds nicely. 'B-side' 'Tuesday...' has a dishevelled charm. Augurs wells for the debut album promised next year. ***

Review by Peter Muir

THE VOOM BLOOMS Anna (23rd Recordings)

Second single from this lot, which is uptempo guitar rock/pop. Think Rooster and Arctic Monkeys being blatant about their influence by 70s US Punk (The Ramones et al). The kind of music that tells you they have gelled spiky haircuts before youíve even seen them.

Constant high pace throughout, the second track here is more gothic, more UK new wave (Siouxie, Echo et al).

Nothing new but for new era guitar pop itís done extremely well. ***

Review by Joe Geesin

JULIETTE AND THE LICKS Hot Kiss (Hassle Records)

New single from JATL - a high energy rock number with a guitar pop edge. This is the first number from the bandís second album, the female vocals a touch punk/grungy, with that Janis Joplin sleaze. Twin guitars full pelt too.

Second track 'Lucky For You', exclusive to the CD single (the 7' features a different track) features drummer Dave Grohl. ***

Review by Joe Geesin

KARIM FAMOUS Perfume

An interesting singer songwriter who has a hint of Elvis in his voice (most notably on the jaunty 'Superbug'). The third song on here 'Sometimes' is perhaps the best as its slower pace allows Karim's vocals to shine (great surname as you expect success with one like this!). Like to hear more from this artist as he has tweaked my interest. ***

Review by Jason Ritchie

THE GOODBYE PLOT The Silent Fanfare EP

The Goodbye Plot are, by all accounts, an indie pop band outfit out of Manchester.

But on the strength of this second ep, one wonders whether John, Gareth, Brynn and Mark are indie pop. This strong little ep would seem much more at home filed under alt country or Americana. Bruise is a gentle stripped back number - melodic and atmospheric with some lovely slide guitar, harmonica and finger picking work. Break The Line is another delicate and melancholy number with more lovely acoustic work. Perhaps The Trawler is more typical of their output - a jaunty, and catchy indie pop number. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

FINLAY MORTON Laughing Man

Laughing Man is the second single from Aberdeen born singer-songwriter Finlay Morton's debut album Interpret This. With a supporting cast of musicians that have played with many of the greats, this is pleasant up-tempo pop with vocals reminiscent of Feargal Sharkey. The b-side It's Dream is a slower tempo ballad with some nice pipes, a decent chorus and some neat hooks. It's the sort of fare that wouldn't be out of place on Radio 2 or in a Chris De Burgh set. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

CHRIS DE BURGH One World

One World is the first single to be taken from ChrisDe Burgh's forthcoming album The Storyman. It's the sort of pop that will no doubt appeal to his legion of fans, but it's schmaltzy stuff that would be at home in an animated film soundtrack. The African singing The Mahottella Queens add that essential Disney element.

Day After Day is a typical latter-day Chris De Burgh's love song, and The Storyman is almost a remake of The Ferryman revisited. Safe and predictable and unlikely to win any new fans. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

THE ALIENS The Happy Song

The Aliens are a three-piece psychedelic rock outfit laced with electronica from North of the border and all former members at one time or another of the Beta Band.

Their debut single Alienoid Starmonica got something of a pasting on this site, but fair credit, The Aliens have come back for some more. Instead of the weird cacophony of Alienoid Starmonica this one sounds like Benny Hill / Paul McCartney collaboration. Described in the PR handout as Martians having a knees up round a piano, you just have to ask yourself why? ***

Review by Pete Whalley

ZEEB The Battle For Zeeb Beta EP

Yes it's those mad dog interplanetary boys from Zeeb again with a five track EP as a follow up to their MockCockSpockShockRock debut album.

This time, Zeeb Beta is under attack from mutant dogs intent on pillaging Zeeb Beta's black oil reserves. But Omega, Delta and Gamma fall captive to the Dog leader Vernon. The Battle For Zeeb Beta charts our three-piece heroes escape and the ensuing battle for the planet.

Each copy of the EP comes with a 12 page companion comic (remember The Captain's Log from In Search Of Space?). Once more into the breach dear friends with Zeeb's bizarre brand of space riffs, thrash and sonic meanderings as they give Vernon a damn good rodgering. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

THE WOMBATS Moving To New York

Based in Liverpool, The Wombats are native Scousers Matthew Murphy (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Dan Haggis (drums, vocals) and assimilated Viking Tord Overland Knudsen (bass, vocals).

Having achieved exceptional success with their last single Lost In The Post which sold out in a week and got significant Radio 1 airplay, the Liverpool threesome will be looking to build on that success with Moving To New York. A Scouse Arctic Monkeys, the single is pure indie-pop with catchy choruses, three part harmonies and infectious bouncing guitars. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

GRAVE DIGGER Yesterday (CD-EP) Cargo Records

'Yesterday' is a 1984 song by Grave Digger that theyíve reworked for this EP - a kind of a thrash ballad. Soft vocal intro, then slow thrash guitar work, and some intricate guitar work and a piano. A thrash ballad indeed!

'The Reapers Dance' is classic Grave Digger - a modern and mature take on their brand of metal.

Track 3 is a take on Led Zeppelinís 'No Quarter', then thereís an orchestral version of 'Yesterday'. Nazareth got away with it on 'Love Hurts', but not Grave Digger.

Oh, and thereís a bonus DVD of a live concert from 2001.

A different take on what they do best, and a touch too far too. ***

Review by Joe Geesin

ELLENBY Circling

Soulful singer/songwriter affair with a modern sound and full band providing a sound thatís very pleasant. Not that interesting or tuneful, but just pleasant. Upbeat with a Celtic nod, and female vocals not too dissimilar to Kirsty Macoll.

Second track is an acoustic version of 'All You Need To Know' - the title track to their forthcoming debut album.

The music here leaves me feeling pretty indifferent. **½

Review by Joe Geesin

ZEIN SOMONE The Change EP

A 6 track EP kicking off with a pop/soul/folk blend in 'Again'. Soft, tuneful, but itís a style of music that doesnít captivate me a great deal. OK, at all. Interesting lyrics though. And the strings add a nice touch.

'The Change' is even softer but has an interesting rhythm. Uplifting lyrics.

Good pop affair, with a touch of heavy guitar in 'Behind Closed Doors'. **½

Review by Joe Geesin

***** 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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