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Singles Bar: January 2008

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

TINA DICO Sacre Coeur Finest (2008)

With three albums under her belt in her native Denmark, this singer-songwriter is set for wider success with the new album 'Count To Ten'. She cites Joan Armatrading and Joni Mitchell as influences - but in her uptempo moments she'll appeal to lovers of female pop rockers like KT Tunstall.

This is a mid-tempo, reflective, ditty that perfectly showcases Dico's persuasive vocal style: the grass is always greener, but when Paris is beneath your feet there must be worse places to contemplate your future.

Check out Pete Whalley's album review: the single is an excellent taster. *****

Review by David Randall

ELLIOT MINOR Still Figuring Out (Reposession/Warner Bros)

With the polish on this single you could be forgiven thinking this band is from New York, not York. It's energetic, powerful stuff.

This is the band's fourth single and the debut album's on its way in May. By all accounts, there is a lot of interest in the music business at the moment in pop/rock with a slightly novel twist or seemingly good-time vibe.

How else can you explain the popularity of Hot Chip and The Hoosiers?

Elliot Minor have pop sensibilities but still appeal to the Kerrang crowd. This gives them a greater chance than most. ****

Review by David Randall

VAN TRAMP Help Me Make It (Tunepony)

Van Tramp are a band that fit in nicely alongside recent chart successes The Hoosiers and The Fray, and with a touch of Maroon 5 and The Stereophonics about them their new single Help Me Make It is destined for big things.

A catchy and well written tune, it will no doubt be a favourite with the audience on the bands forthcoming tour supporting Newton Faulkner. ****

Review by Nikk Gunns

FLYLEAF I'm So Sick A&M/Octone (2008)

The album's been around since 2006 and gets a new airing in the UK to coincide with the band's support slot on the Korn tour.

Fiesty, female-fronted rock - there's a lot of it about, but Flyleaf do it better than most, putting them right up there with current genre-darlings Paramore. ****

Review by David Randall

EUTOPIA Valentine

A three piece band who cite Van Halen, Def Leppard and the Beachboys as influences but they come across more like a progressive rock band with an AOR sound.

The title track has a slow, brooding melody with nice drums but maybe the guitar could have been lifted a bit more in the mix. 'I'm Not Alone' has a West Coast AOR feel about it although you do wish it would maybe go more up tempo.

Worth checking out and an album's worth of songs by this band would give a fuller and afire picture about their sound and style. ***½

Review by Jason Ritchie

MADDING CROWD Celebration (Billy's Back)

An hugely enjoyable four minute slice of uplifting indie-pop/rock that manages to bring to mind both The Kinks and Blur thanks to some nice saxophone and genuinely upbeat lyrics. A song of hope indeed!

Certainly enough to make me consider getting the album, especially if the other material is of a similar standard. ***½

Review by Bill Leslie

INTERVURT Translucent EP (Dead Planet Records)

London based Intervurt play a melodic hard rock with a guitar pop nod, think Natural Born Killers, The Killers, Placebo and QOTSA.

Taken from their forthcoming album and is fairly radio friendly

There's a touch of U2 in there, with the keyboards adding a Cure touch too!

Pretty mainstream, should do well, but not that much rock'n'roll. ***

Review by Joe Geesin


Robert Fripp has a lot to answer for. Dr Slaggleberry have as well. This blend of frenetic jazz rock fusion and metal might well find a wider appeal than it deserves. With shades of Crimson, of the King variety. The perfect antidote to metalcore. Are they taking the piss? ***

Review by David Randall

SOCIAL The White Label Collection

In an era of wannabee bands, mostly spurred on by the punk movement and fawned over by NME and the likes, it's a welcome relief to hear a new band who can actually write a decent songs and play their instruments with some aplomb.

Tuneful rock that belongs more in the West Coast school of rock - big on melody, big on choruses and easy on the ear - is in short supply these days, but this 5 track ep makes up for that showing great promise. The band draw on songwriting influences such as the Beatles and Oasis to deliver their own brand of breezy pop / rock.

Now that's what I call 'proper' rock music. ***

Review by Pete Whalley


Dischordant. Heavy on the fuzz and the acid. A band having fun getting it on. Alex Templeton T-bone Wards' lead vocals are promising, the rhythm section sounds like early Hawkwind and there's a generally spaced out feel to Getaway Car.

And then the band drop their left shoulder and with a deft touch deliver something entirely unexpected - a piece of Californian summer of love acoustic pop rock in the shape of The Huraraz Song.

In fact the other two songs that make up this 4 track ep have their roots in the Doors era of rock. And with a live lounge session on BBC radio under their belt, there's enough here to suggest that maybe, just maybe there could be something special about The Beat Maras. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

HOT CHIP Ready For The Floor (EMI)

Heralding the release of their forthcoming second album Made In The Dark, Ready For The Floor finds Hot Chip picking up where they left 2007 with another huge slab of intoxicating techno dancefloor pop.

Falling somewhere between Kylie and New Order, this is unlikely to win over new fans, but their existing cohorts of devotees will not be disappointed. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

THE LITTLE ONES Ordinary Song (Heavenly/EMI)

Sun kissed Californian's The Little Ones first offering of 2008 is a bright and breezy summer pop falling somewhere between The Beach Boys and fellow label mates The Magic Numbers.

The big hooks and harmonies that you may have witnessed at last summers Glastonbury and Reading/Leeds festival abound here, signalling that 2008 could be a big year for these indie pop favourites. ***

Review by Pete Whalley


Acoustic based singer-songwriter Alice McLaughkin, delivers her second bittersweet single - a stripped down love song with a metronomic pulse. Alice's songs have a darkness to them akin to artists like PJ Harvey who never like their audience to get too comfortable.

The next Kate Nash? Entirely possible. ***

Review by Pete Whalley


The title track off Liverpool songstress Laura Critchley's album isn't one that survived the cull when considering what merited uploading to my ipod.

The album is packed with note perfect radio friendly pop that would go down a storm on Pop Idol or X-Factor, and Sometimes I fits perfectly in that genre. There are some more 'serious' tracks that did escape the cull - notably What Do We Do? And Shoulder To Lean On - a perfect soul ballad with some frankly, stunning vocals.

That's where I would have started. But what do I know? ***

Review by Pete Whalley


With a production team that's handled Evanescence, Kelly Clarkson, Avril Lavigne, Timbaland and Timberlake, you can be pretty much guaranteed something radio friendly.

And When I'm Gone by Simple Plan doesn't disappoint, hitting all the right buttons for MTV success - catchy, ballsy pop with a big Bon Jovi chorus and just a hint of bad ass rhythm. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

THE PISTOLAS Hey, Hey, Hey (Best Before Records)

Another dance indie rock crossover according to the press release - don't you just love pigeonholes in music? The Pistols sound like the Rapture meets a new wave band of the late 70's, especially on 'The Wrong Stuff' with its synths and electronic effects. In fact the vocals at times veer into the falsetto wailing of former Darkness vocalist Justin Hawkins!

Likely to be big for a few months then disappear from sight! ***

Review by Jason Ritchie

BETH ROWLEY Oh My Life (Blue Thumb Records)

Scheduled for greatness? Some would have you believe that honey throated 26-year-old singer-songwriter Beth Rowley's future is written in the stars.

Mentored by Carleen Anderson and with her debut album Little Dreamer due out in April, Oh My Life is a taster for what's to come. And basically that's a potpourri of gentle blues, soul and gospel of the sort that regularly graces Wogan's Radio 2 playlist.

So there you have it, impossible to dislike, but not exactly easy to love. File under clean cut and predictable. Just what the world needs - another Katie Melua. **½

Review by Pete Whalley


With their roots firmly in the Jam school of rock, this Brighton 4 piece serve up a hot platter of punk infused rock. Kicking off with a wonderfully throbbing bassline, before launching into 8 minutes plus of solid punk infused rock punctuated with an unnecessarily repetitive use of the F word. So not one to rock to while the kids are running amok, or play while the vicar is visiting.

Meanwhile the B-side Looking For A Product lifts Stiff Little Fingers Ever Fallen In Love With Someone riff with no apologies. So question marks, perhaps around originality of content. But full marks for vitriol. **½

Review by Pete Whalley


Heavy on the fuzz, manic paced punk influenced rock suited to those who enjoy their mosh pit moments fast, furious and sweaty.

To be honest this is never going to sell in spades, not even small buckets full. The band's self-released debut album clocked in at only 7 minutes 42 seconds and one track lasted just 42 seconds. But by that time they probably just needed a sit down and a nice cup of tea.

Suited to a moment in time, but probably not this one. **

Review by Pete Whalley

KAREN BISHKO Singles for Singles

She may not have love in her life but singer/songwriter Karen Bishko has certainly got a few celebrity fans - she also has a great voice and a CD with big production, and the songs ain't bad either.

There are 3 tracks on offer here, 'Run, Run, Run', 'Unfertilised' and 'Tinker Boy'- all of which will appeal to fans of Take That, who she is supporting later in the year. **

Review by Nikk Gunns

CUDDLY SHARK The Punisher of IV30

Cuddly Shark serve up a platter of US influenced discordant garage rock of the Lou Reed / Iggy Pop variety, delivered with a John Lydon spittle. But the sound from this Scottish band is thin, and at times sounds like a needle stuck in a groove. It's aggressive, and times an uncomfortable listen.

Hails of Bay has Zappa parody written all over it, while on the closer - the 52 second Jamie Foxx on Later With Jools Holland the lyrics go 'I heard you sing the worst song you ever heard'. They might just be right. **

Review by Pete Whalley


Pretty Girls harks back to the Buddy Holly days of cheesy dance floor rock and roll. But it's hard to imagine today's kid's wanting to twist and jive and any song about getting a date in Tesco's is hard to take seriously. But with the renaissance of ballroom dancing, you never know. I'm lost for words. **

Review by Pete Whalley


OK, who's been listening to Pete Burn's Dead And Alive You Spin Me Round? If this is the sort of stuff that EMI think is going to get it out of the hideous mess it's in, I suggest they think again.

The fact that it features Antony from Antony & The Johnsons on vocals is the only saving grace. Or is it? Who, you ask yourself, would buy this? But then the NME, Guardian, Mojo, Vogue et al all seem to be wetting themselves. I rest my case, but let time be the judge. Hercules & who? **

Review by Pete Whalley


Features one Jamie Oliver on drums. Having worked for Jamie, the music loving chef was impressed by Tim's songs and had 'My World' as the theme tune of his new show.

An upbeat number 'My World' is backed by 'Until We're Free' and the Radiohead style slower number 'Skin From My Knees'. Tim plans to tour schools playing during the lunch breaks promoting Jamies healthy eating plan!! **

Review by Nikk Gunns

THE BRUTE CHORUS Chateau (Bumpman - digital download)

Stoner folk / singer/songwriter that follows a similar phrasing / rhythm to Bananarama's "It's Not What You Do....". Some eclectic guitar that will please the NME crowd. Second track "The Cuckoo ....." has a hillbilly touch, again done for the NME crowd. Sounds like a 3-piece drum kit.

Jumpy, and annoyingly catchy, and pretty crap too.

Review by Joe Geesin

URBNRI Young Free & Simple

Glaswegian sounding Streets/Graham Coxon.

The Sun called then "Bad Boys". Well, they are boys, you can probably guess the rest.

Review by Joe Geesin

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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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