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Singles Bar: December 2007

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


After several shows together, these two bands hook up for this split single, 2 tracks by each, that showcase both bands well.

The Loyalties open with Black Jimmy, and uptempo mix of hard rock and guitar pop with a hook, a catch and a decent guitar solo. There's a hint of punk in there too. The demo of Green Eyes is very retro, nodding back at when punk, pub rock and proto 70s rock'n'roll, all given that bright'n'breezy guitar pop edge.

The Radio Dead Ones follow up with Jimmy Does, a not too dissimilar sound to The Loyalties, but a much harsher and brighter guitar sound; a nod back at Fergal Sharkey and his band. If it got more retro you'd expect a Tenpole Tudor style sing along chorus. Final song Anchor Song is rougher, a more metal edge.

Modern and breezy, but two bands who clearly enjoy their sound and play their guitars. Two hopefuls. ****

Review by Joe Geesin

THE WOMBATS Moving To New York (14th Floor Records)

The third'official' single to be lifted from The Wombats A Guide To Love, Loss And Desperation, and strange timing - mid January, given the'Christmas' reference in the lyrics.

This is superior indie pop rock from a band who are understandable heroes in their native Liverpool, but who have still to light the blue torch paper to their career outside of capital of culture. But if this catchy little ditty doesn't do it, I'll be gob smacked.

Backed by a version of Bryan Adam's (Everything I Do) I Do It For You and a clutch of remixes, catch a band on the way up the greasy pole to success. ****

Review by Pete Whalley

MAKE IT BETTER LATER Clive (Periphony Records)

'Clive' is a two minute wonder that features a cod reggae/ska punk backing track and some gentle mocking dance floor humour before exploding into a startlingly brief avalanche of processed voice, samples and screaming.

Everything is forgettable about this song until the repeated electronic hook kicks in. It's the kind of instant impact that producers dream about and band's like Wheatus have utilised so well.

Repeated plays might just propel this single on to the radio. Subliminal massaging never sounded so good. ****

Review by Pete Feenstra


Watcher were formed in the summer of 2006, although listening to this 7-track promo CD the band play like they have been together for years.

Hailing from Western Massachusetts and sharing influences such as Depeche Mode, Muse and The Strokes, this 5 piece will be releasing their first album in the spring of 2008 (on the Mohawk Cat label)- and from what I have heard from Watcher this is gonna be big.

The bands piano driven brand of rock reminds me at times, not only of the previously mentioned influences, but also The Killers and The Talking Heads.

"Condoms & Fine Wine" also a touch of early U2 to it, whilst "Nude" has the feel of Johnny Cash's "Hurt" but the opens up to a faster paced number.

"The Fall" has a slight solemn edge to it, as opposed to "October" which is a guitar driven Killers style effort. "Scarlet", with its piano intro and haunting guitar, this slower song is a track that will no doubt do well for Watcher.

Similarly, "Not Me" and "Carolina" are also well worth checking out.

Catch the band live if you get the chance, or check out ****

Review by Nikk Gunns

SAL Infatuation (Casket)

A 5 track mini album from a four-piece rock/punk, female fronted band, Infatuation is Sal's follow up to their debut album Dysfunctional.

Produced by ACE (Skunk Anansie guitarist) the emphasis is very much on punchy hard-hitting semi commercial rock with some excellent vocals by Cat.

If you're a fan of female fronted rock such as Heart, Pat Benatar and the like (and I count myself very firmly in that camp) then I think you'll be impressed. Not a million miles away in style and format from Anemo and Jynxt (at least the style on their blistering debut album and not the rap tat they're currently peddling) then Sal are well worth investigating. ****

Review by Pete Whalley


Leicester's Kyte release their self-titled debut album in February, preceded by the download only single - Boundaries (which has featured in The Sopranos trailer).

With an average age of only 20, it's a debut mature beyond the band's years. Their sound is one based on the sonic meandering style of some of U2's b-sides or Sigur Ros. Vast soundscapes, punctuated by glistening guitars and keys, punchy drums and dreamy vocals.

While I wouldn't normally consider myself a huge fan of the genre, there's enough commerciality and rock thrown into the mix to suggest that Kyte could well be the band to cross over to the major leagues. ***½

Review by Pete Whalley


A band who have been gaining favourable reviews and airplay, particularly on Virgin Radio.

Six songs on here, all of which bar 'Rat Race' (which sounds poor compared with the other songs on here), mix classic rock guitars with the funk rock of RHCP.

In fact 'Such Is Life' and 'City Of Angels' could well be RHCP jamming with the Black Crowes and Free. A decent set of songs and certainly a band to watch out for in the coming months as judging by these songs they have the tunes and talent, now they just need the all important break! ***½

Review by Jason Ritchie

TOM BROMLEY Need You ... So Bad/Nothing To Do Or Say

On this follow up to his debut album Two Nine Five, not only has Tom dropped the 'Thomas' but he sounds like he's been on a course of Galloises, which turns out to be no bad thing.

On Need You Tom serves up on a laid back soul groove that sounds like a duet somewhere between Van The Man and Daryl Hall, while Nothing has a more up-tempo Philly soul sound. Both tracks deliver quality blue eyed soul, and bode well for that tricky second album. ***½

Review by Pete Whalley

EXILE PARADE Still Number One EP (

This young band already have connections, including producer Owen Morris (Oasis/The Verve). The opening track "Still Number One" is a bright, chirpy, sing along pop number with guitar indie/rock nods.

"Bicycle Thieves" is heavier, moody rock, and there's a hint of blues in there somewhere.

"Get Your Gun Boy" is overly innocent, with a hint of Syd Barrett.

"Fire Walk With Me" nods at 90s indie/rock. Think Oasis without the cliché.

Guitar music for the more serious of the late teen market. Not all bad.

Could go very far in a couple of years. ***½

Review by Joe Geesin

PEIMITAI War Cries (

This 1 track intro to the band proves they really are worth checking out.

Pretty extreme, the vocals growl heavily, yet almost legible too.

The guitar work is great, some solos and melodies in there. A clear and strong Iron Maiden influence, if you mix it with one of their self confessed influences of Cannibal Corpse. AC/DC on speed maybe?

Definitely one to watch out for. ***½

Review by Joe Geesin

PITCHBLEND The Lines Of Unreason (Sugar Shack / Shellshock)

This Reading based 4-piece produce a full solid sound mixing a crashing metal with an ethereal atmosphere.

If 80s guitar bands like Big Country and U2 played a 90s metal you'd get the idea. The drums (especially the cymbals) are big and crashing, Opening track "Sirens" is one of many great melodies with a slight prog feel. There's touches of The Deftones and My Vitriol too.

This band have already won acclaim from the likes of Rocksound and Metal Hammer. Should do very well. ***½

Review by Joe Geesin

SIGN OF ONE Slip (Ditto Music)

This Canadian band, formed in 2001, already have a substantial following. This new track is quite progressive, in a harsh sense, verging on prog metal with a jangly guitar sound reminiscent of some indie or guitar pop bands of the 80s.

In places a good rock song with a memorable melody and extreme metal rhythms. Interesting. ***

Review by Joe Geesin

NEPHU HUZZBAND Papers (Deep Production Company)

Nephu Huzzband offer a refreshing take on indie rock with an emphasis on high register vocals which are subtly woven into the fabric of some chiming riffs.

On the title track of 'Wallpaper', a 4 track CD/EP, they assemble an unrelenting groove and repeated guitar motif over which vocalist Tom Bentley emotes in the fashion of Diesel Park West's John Butler.

The emphasis shifts to Adam Popple's guitar on the harder edged 'Destroy Mona Lisa'. In many respects this track sets both the standard and the shortfalls of the band.

There's some undoubted spirited energy on the back of some luscious cymbal splashes, characteristic chugging guitar parts all mixed seamlessly into the vocal led wall of sound. The vocal refrain would be familiar to fans of Franz Ferdinand, and for older ears, several new romantic vocalists of the 80's and indeed the previously mentioned DPW.

Listened to on its own, the song carries you along with its melodic sweep, but in the context of this 4 track offering, it also suggests that there isn't likely to be more to the band's dynamic outside of the high register vocal range.

But we'll take what is offered and 'Mona Lisa' is a splendid effort that the maverick Phil Spector would have been proud of. Never mind the comparisons, Nephu Huzzband are forging their own style and its one that promises drag a hip audience along with them. ***

Review by Pete Feenstra


This 6 track EP / mini album kicks off with a solid metal track "Dragonflies Terrain", a strong if repetitious rhythm and lots (and lots and lots) of fuzz. Heavy metal with a strong stoner nod.

The vocals verge on monotonous shouting but it somehow works, very well.

"Freeze The Frame" gets heavier, while retaining the stoner fuzz, so verges on doom before the extreme and speed take off. It's not a sound you'd expect from an Irish band but they carry it off well.

"Haunted Gangster" is uptempo, nodding at 90s indie rock, all within the fuzz and stoner remit.

The sound is a little much, can get a little overwhelming and samey, but should please fans of the genre. ***

Review by Joe Geesin

BIFFY CLYRO Who's Got A Match (14th Floor Records)

After a storming 2007 and the release of their breakthrough Puzzle album, Scottish indie rockers Biffy Clyro will be starting 2008 with their 6th single release from the aforementioned album.

Let's be honest, there wasn't a bad track on the album, so this anthemic track will no doubt be as popular as deep fried Mars Bars are with Biffy's hometown fan base. I guess what punters will want to know is what non-album material they can expect for their investment. And unfortunately, the promo and press blurb don't give a clue. But with the single running out at a paltry 2 minutes 26 seconds, there has to be more bangs for your bucks. ***

Review by Pete Whalley


A single track of 2 minutes duration makes it difficult to judge a band's potential. But Sick Of It by Hull based The Favours has all the hallmarks of vintage X-Offender era Blondie. For a kick off, there's the punchy new wave guitar work, and then there's the vocals of Sara Sanchez, who while perhaps not a beauty of Debbie Harry stature, is nevertheless, something of a raven haired looker.

Sick Of It, has the pace and commerciality of those early Blondie hits and Sara has Debbie down to tee. Impossible not to like, but only a look at the band's wider repetoire will tell us whether they've got more in thier locker. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

KAREN BISHKO Singles For Singles

She has recently supported Take That but she is no pop diva, instead Karen Bishko pens poignent lyrics about single life and relationships.

Of the three songs om here only the bouncy beat of 'Unfertilised' grabs the listener and draws them back for another listen. It has a highly polished sound and is not bad but lacking the 'wow' factor. ***

Review by Jason Ritchie

DAVID GARSIDE Playground (Frizz Records)

David Garside is a kind of DIY Brian Wilson meets Paul McCartney right down to the insistent piano line, the Beach Boys style layered voices and the close attention to harmonies.

But aspiration is once thing and realisation of an idea is another. 'Playground' sounds like a potentially potent pop song with an uncertain intro. But the impressive vocal swoops and repeated poppy chorus do just enough to catch your attention. And yet this sounds like a demo in progress on which the verses drag a little.

It's almost as if things have been conceived back to front, that is to say that the core structure isn't quite strong enough. So while 'Playground' ultimately boasts a strong resolution in the shape of a catchy chorus and a belated delightful string arrangement, there's more work to be done.***

Review by Pete Feenstra

HELLO WEMBLEY Up Great Britain (Velocity Recordings)

The band's name says it all really, as Hello Wembley combine elements of humour, pastiche, and parody in a handful of punky inflected pop songs to bring a smile to even the most jaded palette.

And it is the lead single Up Great Britain' as part of a 4 track mini ep/cd that sets the standard, with some humorous but biting lyrics who apparent irreverence barely disguise some painfully accurate observations on contemporary times.

But the band aren't just a one dimensional post punk band on auto destruct, as when they chant 'Great Britain isn't great anymore, in Great Britain, the rich hate the poor', they later ask the all to relevant question, 'ask the question, what happened'?

For the rest there's some fairly obvious humour, but Debbie Howard adds some lovely vocals and on the minimalist 'Rollercoaster' Hello Wembley distil their art into a three word hook, and things don't get any more concise than that. ***

Review by Pete Feenstra

PAUL HOURICAN Intro EP & Let the Emeany EP

Irish singer/songwriter who has supported Damien Rice amongst others and musically it is very pleasing but whne he starts to sing he sends the listener into a slumber! He lacks any real passion and after repeated listens I can't remember any parts of the lyrics or melodies.

The press release compares him to David Gray, err I can't personally hear that and there are better artists out there in this style like Chris Singleton and indeed David Gray himself. **½

Review by Jason Ritchie

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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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