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Singles Bar: April 2008

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

SISTER SIN Smash The Silence EP

The Swedes really do produce some stunning hard rock and Gothenburg-based Sister Sin maintain those high standards. More extreme than Flyleaf or Paramore, it sounds like this quartet have a bus to catch.

Vocalist Liv has the power of Ann Wilson from Heart but with an edge, and this five-track EP effectively melds modern metal with classic hair metal rock. Although it's all very good, 'On Parole' is a standout and has all the band's strengths in one place: chorus, vocals and attitude. Check this out whilst awaiting the debut album which can't arrive a day too soon. *****

Review by David Randall


From his new album '9 Lives' this is what Steve Winwood does best. A Rhodes piano-heavy groove in the vein of 'Low Spark of High Heeled Boys' topped off with Eric Clapton's always measured guitar figures. Wonderful. *****

Review by David Randall


The Stoned features Kory Clarke (Warrior Soul) on drums, Adam Dubin on guitar (Adam is best known for directing videos for The Beastie Boys and Metallica, amongst others), Sebastian Correa on bass and Scotty T Dimebagger on vocals.

This 4 track EP has an early 70's feel and some nice dirty, sleazy riffs throughout - The Stooges, MC5 and Ramones all come to mind if you are looking for influences here.

'Nobody Rides For Free', 'Drunk Drivers From Space', 'Racing Air Force One' and 'Vegas Honeymoon' (this is a tune you will not get out of your head for weeks!!) are all superb.

The band will be playing in the UK during April. *****

Review by Nikk Gunns

BLACK TIDE Shockwave (Interscope)

This rocks like prime-time Judas Priest. It's a twin guitar fest, updated for the modern generation. Like Trivium, this quartet are from sunny Florida and whilst there are some similarities, on this showing Black Tide are more mainstream than hardcore metal.

Their debut album 'Light From Above' must be worth investigating. ****

Review by David Randall

HAM SANDWICH Keepsake Route 109 Recording Company

A lovely slice of pop rock bliss, simple as that! The melodic female vocals of Niamh sit nicely atop breezy guitar and the more gruff vocals of Podge.

This is a tune for the summer and their debut album due in May should be well worth a listen. More please! ****

Review by Jason Ritchie

MAGGIE BELL No Mean City (Angel Air)

Sadly not the Nazareth track of the same name, this track is the theme music from the TV show Taggart.

The former Stone The Crows first lady belts out a decent bluesy if melodic tune here, written by respected composer/pianist Mike Moran.

Second track is a classic Bell solo track "Suicide Sal", the title track to a mid 70s solo album. Brilliant back then and still thoroughly enjoyable. As solid, powerful and ballsy as bluesy. Worth checking out. ****

Review by Joe Geesin

WIRED DESIRE Barely Illegal

Fresh off the tour with Nazareth, this Scottish rock band should do well.

Straight down the line rock'n'roll that mixes metal with sleaze. Imagine Hanoi Rocks given the straight metal treatment.

Opener "No One Sleeps" is a real rocker, with some good guitar work, both in solo and rhythm.

Really worth checking out. ****

Review by Joe Geesin


The second single from Cardiff's very own East Enders (at least James Rowland's vocals are served that way). Post indie pop rock reminiscent of Supergrass or Blur at their most energetic, Julia is a terrific single - exciting and vibrant, with a storming chorus and throws down the gauntlet to other aspiring wannabees.

If the band can maintain this form then they could well be the next Manics. ****

Review by Pete Whalley

SIMPLE PLAN Your Love Is A Lie (Lava)

Whilst there might be nothing startling original about this track, you can't really fault it.

It has an Oasis-style opening before developing into a classy power ballad that just veers north of bland.

The band made quite a splash at the 'Camden Takeover' in January and play more UK dates in April. Like fellow North Americans Rascal Flatts there's just a whiff of 'boy band' about them which might undermine their cred as serious rockers. They've been described as 'pop punk' and have been making albums since 2002's 'No Pads, No Helmets...Just Balls' - so they are no new kids on the block either.

It makes you want to dip into their eponymous album released in February 2008, but looking at their boy band credentials, perhaps under cover of darkness. ***½

Review by David Randall


Young metal band, just playing metal (ie no scene chasing here), and with the support of both Kerrang! and Bruce Dickinson.

From riffs to guitar effects, it's pretty rawkus.

Kerrang! called them "hook heavy alt-rockers", and they're good with it, so there you go. ***½

Review by Joe Geesin

KUNK We Are Not Who Think We Are

Guitar indie / alternative played alt-metal, rocking and riffing indeed. Should do well, well worth checking out. ***½

Review by Joe Geesin

FURY UK Salvation

Riffs, attitude, and this 3 track single (runs for 15 minutes) is the first release with the new line-up.

Perfect Metal Hammer fodder (they've been raving about them). Some neat guitar lines, and riffs too. Think mid 80s Iron Maiden played with a 00's wall of metal sound. Not bad for a 3 piece.

Second track Manslaughter is heavier too. Rifftastic. ***

Review by Joe Geesin

JACK JOHNSON Hope (Brushfire Records)

This is a competent if somewhat boring ditty with reggae undertow. No doubting the catchiness, it's an easy if not exactly essential listen. Converts will already have his 'Sleep Through The Static' album. ***

Review by David Randall

SMITH 6079 The Sound Of Silence/Here Again

Free download single, a double A-Side. "The Sound Of Silence" is a cover of the Simon & Garfunkel track, a touch of Crowded House, a touch of 80s rock/pop with a slow programmed backing track and some rock guitar effect.

"Here Again" is a slow rocker, moody, with uptempo vocals. Again as much reliance on effects as riffs. Heavy guitar indie. ***

Review by Joe Geesin

KRIS MORRIS Someone Sometimes

Classic Radio 2 material here, with a singer/songwriter music played in a band set-up and a touch of rock. Think Neil Finn / Crowded House. Pleasant enough. **½

Review by Joe Geesin

THE SCRATCH Critical Mass (Ponyland Records)

New single from the Scratch whose last single went straight up the University playlists.

Occasional metal riffs and a nod of melody in uptempo guitar indie/rock. Elements of what was popular 10-15 years ago. As far is indie/rock goes it's fairly radio friendly, with a party feel. **½

Review by Joe Geesin

HOT CHIP One Pure Thought (EMI)

Standout album track and live favourite, this electronic pop track (programming, catchy repetitive rhythm) is very early 80s, with a 90s quirkiness, and a touch of occasional rock guitar (a longer indie rock guitar intro on the album version).

Will cross the Radio 1 / 2 border. **

Review by Joe Geesin

IVY'S ITCH Dear Sweet Aveline/Snake Oil

Opening track is mid and monotonous paced, with female vocals that start well and start to scream.

In grunge fashion it mixes slower segments, in which the bass is prominent, with all out noise bursts. This lot make Nirvana appear tuneful. And you're halfway through the song before you get any decent guitar work but even then it's lost in the mix. **

Review by Joe Geesin

THE HAND SHAKE AFFAIR Oh Oh ... Get Her In!!! (EP)

Strange title, but that's Germans for you.

Four tracks, opening with "The Chauffeur", which features some good guitar work but very disjointed and clearly can't decide where it wants to go. Some alt.metal bursts but elsewhere could be prog metal or indie. "How Sweet Thin Shadows Are" is more consistent; solid modern metal but ordinary.

I'm sure it'll have its appeal, somewhere, but really not for me. **

Review by Joe Geesin


Sheffield's finest wonky riff based albinos, apparently.

Recorded in 2007 with acclaimed producer Alan Smythe (Arctic Monkeys, Pulp, Long Blondes) this eponymous ep is an introduction to the band. Well, for a start, it sounds to these ears (admittedly brought up on 1970s classic rock) as if its been recorded at the wrong speed. But then the NME would no doubt consider me an old fart.

So the answer's obvious - if you read NME, Kill The Captains are worth exploring. If not, avoid. **

Review by Pete Whalley

GLASSGLUE Spiral Stair

Glassglue are a car crash between Captain Beefheart and Kraftwerk - allegedly, but one thing is for sure - their weirdness is not in doubt. Dysfunctional, off key rythmns and vocals that sound like a Dr Who extra terrestrial. It's completely off the wall, completely mad, barking. That was, until I discovered I had the band's Myspace player and Windows playing different tracks at the same time!

But even one track at at time they sound like the phantom of the opera, but without the opera. **

Review by Pete Whalley

SUNFLIES The Indigo Sampler EP

Yet another indie/alt rock band. At least Sunflies can claim a career highlight of supporting The View.

To be honest, the band write / play a passable tune, but the production is woeful. And while there's some decent moments there's little to suggest they can raise themselves above the mire of youtube / myspace hopefuls. With the right tutelage, there could be the germ of something good here, but greatness is a million miles away at present.

But NME seems to like them. 'nuff said. **

Review by Pete Whalley


A new genre of music from across the pond influenced by Floyd, Tool and The Mars Volta.

Having acquired a cult-like underground following (loosely interpreted, as loved by friends and family, but not too many others) Part 1 is the band's UK debut single.

Too be fair, I've heard a lot worse - and on any given day, there's far worse that passes the GRTR! review desk. There's some decent vocal interplay between the male and female leads and Part 1 is a brooding cinematic number. But it's let down by a mediocre production.

Interpreted with someone with the clout of, say Evanescence, Part 1 could be huge. But the likelihood of that happening is about nil. **

Review by Pete Whalley


Uptempo metal that mixes that guitar pop take on punk, with thrash. High paced guitar, punk riffs done in thrash style, screamed unintelligible vocals. Thanks, but no thanks.

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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