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Singles Bar: October 2007

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


Anemo's debut album Slowburn got an excellent review from GRTR! So what of their first post debut single Pray inspired by the capture and hostage taking of BBC correspondent John Simpson?

Opening with eastern wailing, and this time out with twin lead vocals from sisters Hazel and Erika Woodhurst, the good news is that Anemo have taken their sound onto a new level with a terrific rock track that is not only one of the best you'll hear this year, but which also reveals a band that no longer sounds derivative. The future looks bright. Very bright indeed. Magnificent. *****

Review by Pete Whalley

LUCIUS Say It Again (Ditto Music)

A band from South Wales, and a classic rock track. A touch of the Oasis-es, anthemic, and a hint of attitude. Sounds good on the radio too. A band to watch out for. *****

Review by David Randall

KOOPA The Crash

Cheeky Essex boys Koopa release their third single, still unsigned. But they've ratcheted the ante up a notch or two this time.

With Sean Magee on board for mastering (Kaiser Chiefs, Franz Ferdinand, Ash and Biffy Clyro) The Crash is a more accomplished track than its predecessors - Blag, Steal and Borrow, and The One Off Song For Summer.

Superior indie rock that's pounding, powerful and catchy. ****

Review by Pete Whalley


Stillman releases his second single from his debut album People Like A Happy Ending. You may have spotted him at Glastonbury - riding the latest wave of singer-songwriters.

I couldn't tell you whether Jack-In-A-Box -s typical of his output, but if it is, then the album will be well worth checking out. A superior, acoustic based number somewhere between Donovan and Tull, but sounding like neither. One to watch. ****

Review by Pete Whalley

BIG LINDA I Don't Even Like You

Produced by Paul Stacey (Oasis, The Black Crowes) I Don't Even Like You is a huge slab of frenetic rock that reminds of early Zeppelin. It's chunky, raw and sweaty - just the way rock is supposed to be. With their debut album (I Loved You) pretty much in the can and set for an early 2008 release, and songs placed in two forthcoming major movies, Big Linda could well be the emerging rock band of 2008. ****

Review by Pete Whalley

SUZERAIN Apocalypse Disco (Jezus Factory Records)

West London based band who have only been around since 2005 yet after hearing the five songs on here you’d swear they were seasoned performers such is the strength of the songs and musicianship.

The title track and 'Life On Film’ are very catchy pop rockers with neat keyboard and guitar touches. Whereas 'New Solution’ has a big bass riff and sounds like an indie version of Motorhead!

New bands always get hyped up but in this case Suzerain are deserving as these tunes are top notch and a bright future hopefully beckons for them. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie

MATCHBOX TWENTY How Far We've Come (Atlantic)

Returning to the studio for the first time in five years with Steve Lillywhite the band's new material will feature on a forthcoming retrospective collection.

Perhaps more a truly band effort (as opposed to the guy's simply playing the material as written by Rob Thomas) How Far We've Come is an excellent up tempo number with tinges of modern post indie, punk influenced pop.

And for all those myspace bands of the genre - check it out - this is how it should be done. As they say, if you've got it, flaunt it. ****

Review by Pete Whalley

ED HARCOURT You Put A Spell On Me (EMI)

The brand new single from Ed Harcourt, who is now seven years and five albums into his singer song writing career and still isn't a household name.

It's lifted from his 'Until Tomorrow Then' - his 16 track Best Of collection and will be a welcome release for fans - not only because it will save them having to re-invest in material on past albums, but because it's yet another step up the ladder - a sumptuous soft rock ballad that could so easily be U2, with a delicious hint of country pedal steel. ***


For those American Idol aficionados, Daughtry will not be unfamiliar - or at least, not front man Chris Daughtry - and the 3 million who invested in the band's debut album.

You only need to look at the credits and see that Chris Lord-Alge was behind the mixing desk, and that Simon Fuller is on the management team to know what to expect. Polished soft rock.

It could oh so easily be Bon Jovi on one of their big soft rock ballad workouts. Great vocals, great song, great playing, but at the end of the day it's production line rock. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

ELLIOT MINOR The White One Is Evil (Warner Bros/Repossession Records)

Third single from York's Elliot Minor, 'The White One Is Evil' once again finds the band in Muse meets Fall Out Boy territory.

This mid tempo rocker features some fine vocal harmonies and is bound to follow the last two releases into the Top 20. Elliot Minor are touring the UK throughout October and early November and are well worth checking out. ***

Review by Nikk Gunns

MEAT LOAF It's All Coming Back To Me Now (Mercury)

This live performance features in the DVD reviewed here and was very enjoyable to my ears.

Inspired by Emily Bronte's classic "Wuthering Heights", this 80s sounding power ballad, featuring a duet between Meat Loaf and the Norwegian female singer Marion Raven, almost immediately reminded me of Bonnie Tyler's hit "Total Eclipse Of The Heart" and that is most understandable, as the composer of this new hit is no other than the legendary Jim Steinman, also responsible for the above mentioned 80s hit.

Apart from this highly energized and emotional composition, the single also includes a three and a half minute long heavy Blues composition called "Whore", which allows an insight into the heavier side of Meat Loaf's character.

This is an absolute must have for Meat Loaf fans and an appropriate way for any 'outsider' to become introduced to the wonderful world of Meat Loaf's music and his latest classic "Bat Out Of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose". ***½

Review by John Stefanis

SUZANNE VEGA Ludlow Street (EMI)

Thank God, an artist with some credibility and proven track record of sustainable talent to review. Now a New Yorker and taken from her first post 9/11 album Beauty And Crime, Ludlow Street is an intensely melodic and heartfelt song. Loaded with synths and strings it's a welcome addition to Vega's canon of songs and will be welcomed by fans. ***½

Review by Pete Whalley

VINCE FREEMAN Songs Without Shoes EP

Singer/songwriter Vince Freeman certainly knows how to connect with his fans as he is currently undertaking a living room tour up and down the UK in fans houses, plus a few more conventional concert venues. Previously he has toured with James Morrison and Freeman’s vocals at times remind you of the soulful refrains of James Morrison but with a slightly harsher edge. Stand outs are 'Whispers (Amy)’ which features a full band and 'Beauty Queen’, a lovely piece of acoustic folk.

An enjoyable set of songs and Vince Freeman is worth investigatin further if you enjoy acoustic folk/rock. ***½

Review by Jason Ritchie

THE LOUNGS Googly Moogly (Akoustik Anarkhy)

You wince at a song title like Googly Moogly, especially when it accompanies a CDR with a self-adhesive label. And the fact the band are lauded by NME did nothing to improve my anticipation levels.

Actually Googly Moogly surprises with its early Beatles influence (the band are from St Helens - not a million miles from the fab four's birth place) and is in fact a damn fine catchy pop number with some great (Beach Boys) vocal harmonies. And the B-side Jimmy Two Shoes shows that there's much more to the band. A pleasant surprise. ***½

Review by Pete Whalley

THE SCRATCH Numbers (Ponyland Records)

Formed in 2002 and from St Albans, The Scratch serve up their own brand of punk/post indie rock. With echoes of Sham 69 and The Clash (to my aging years) Numbers is a cheeky little number and as good as anything you'll find of the genre. ***½

Review by Pete Whalley

LIL’ LOST LOU & PAUL HAWKINS Bad Bad Girls/The Evil Thoughts Jezus Factory Records

Interesting combination and first up Lil’ Lost Lou and the song on here is punk meets country via a bit of blues! Damn catchy tune with some mean blues harp playing and a real stripped down sound. Great stuff!

Paul Hawkins may not have the greatest singing voice but the lyrics to 'The Evil Thoughts’ are pure gold. They are darkly humorous and this tune is well worth hearing for the lyrical content alone. ***½

Review by Jason Ritchie


My Alamo, a four piece featuring members from Swansea and Birmingham, crank things up toward the release of their self-titled debut album in November with this single release, "1994".

Two years of appearances at Download have surely helped shape a song that's good, heavy alternative rock with riffs-a-plenty and a great sense of melody in the catchy lyric. The second track "Doctor, Doctor", thankfully not a cover of the old UFO classic, isn't quite up to the same level but is decent enough fare. Both I think, are good pointers for the album.

In fact, "1994" I reckon is actually strong enough to warrant a bit of mainstream attention and add some more airplay to that already achieved on Kerrang Radio and XFM, and build upon positive quotes apparently already gained in Kerrang, Music Week and er... The Sun. ***½

Review by Bill Leslie


Already described as a cross between The Pixies, Dead Kennedy's and L7, The Adventures Of Loki follow up March's "Feminine Side" EP and summer festival slots at Reading and Leeds with new single "Dance Like A Maniac" coupled with "Split" on October 8th.

No frills pop-punk delivered in a couple of short sharp sub three minute slaps around the face its made interesting by the boy-girl vocals jostling for attention atop the jagged guitar. Admittedly some way from my preferred tastes it does however pass an enjoyable few moments although I doubt there'll ultimately be that much longevity in it personally... but that's the point with this stuff isn't it?

Worth owning though for the best example yet of reproducing the look of a vinyl single on 5 inches of compact disc! ***

Review by Bill Leslie

MADDING CROWD Turn Off The Radio (Free download single)

Four piece UK based band whose members were born in four different decades (this is the new indie band trend having different age groups or family members - bit like the Mystery Jets where one of the dads is in the band!). The song is about stopping yourself doing meaningless things in your life i.e. turn off the radio inside your head. Vocally it is similar to many indie bands in that it is not too melodic but the music carries it along. A nice touch is the way the song suddenly stops as if someone has turned the radio off.

As it is free, download it yourself and see what you think! ***

Review by Jason Ritchie

ELENA I'm Your Face

Elena's debut album Glimpse got a pretty good write up from GRTR! - like phone sex when you should be phoning the bank manager. I'm Your Face is a smouldering number Hazel O'Connor type ballad dominated by Marianne (40 fags a day) Faithful influenced vocals. As dangerous as smoking in bed. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

THE DEODATES Before The Bench (Taboo Music)

Nothing to dislike here - post indie, punk influenced soul pop. Hailing from Manchester, Tom and Garry aka The Deodates serve up a sound that you're likely hear in many a Northern town, although perhaps not at the same time - music influenced by Prince, The White Stripes, Marvin Gaye and The Clash. Strangely endearing. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

U.S.E  Open Your Eyes

U.S.E., or to give them their full monika United State Of Electronica, serve up a huge slab of disco electronica which sounds like Peter Frampton (using his Talkbox) backed by cheerleaders at a baseball game. It's catchy. It's upbeat. And it's fun. But is there really a market for this. I suppose if your usual Friday night fix is on the dance floor, then maybe there is. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

OUR DYING CONCEPT Death Of An Age (Rising Records)

This track, comes from a forthcoming album on Rising Records. Some pretty trad thrash at the extreme end, the guitar work akin to very unpolished Metallica / Megadeth / Anthrax.

The vocals, however, are rather to extreme. At their highest it’s like an angry wasp buzzing inside your brain.

As extreme metal goes, it’s ok, but they’re young yet. Tighten up a bit they could go far. **½

Review by Joe Geesin


Shocking Pink (Nicke Harte)'s debut single sounds like Donovan on speed. The production - which is horribly muddy - does it no favours, and to be honest it sounds out of key in places (but what do I know). Shocking is about right, but their may be indie enthusiasts out there who think Shocking Pink may be the next Marc Bolan (in acoustic fairy Tyrannosaurus Rex mode). But not for me. **

Review by Pete Whalley

CLARKY CAT Sightline (EMI)

The name Clarky Cat, for some reason, conjures up visions of Fritz the Cat, so to be honest my expectations weren't great. An off key beat (to my jaded ears) gives way to a post indie half decent punk / indie number with a driving rhythm. But raised on 'classic rock' of the early 1970's I despair at the number of bands putting out this sort of material. It's perfectly serviceable, but it's got a rock lifespan of a nanosecond. Here today, gone tomorrow and forgotten forever. **

Review by Pete Whalley

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***** 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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