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Singles Bar: June 2008

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


Ray Charlton (Vocals, Guitar, Synth), Mike Keating (Guitar Synth, Programming), George Austin (Bass, Synth, Programming), Tom Poulton (Drums)

The Exits are a group from Portsmouth and have already performed at the HI FI South Festival and have supported ‘Bez’ from the 'Happy Mondays' on tour and ‘Mani’ from the 'Stone Roses'.

Woah! What a big gulp of fresh beautiful air! Come on down fans of 'Stone Roses', 'The Music', 'Primal Scream', 'Happy Mondays' and 'Janes Addiction', ‘coz you’re gonna love this!

80’s Synthesizers, cymbals, melodies and guitars, use ya melon man and get on down to the groves of the lost classics of indie pop. I don’t know about you, but I miss good classic Indie and this is must be one of the nest additions to Indie for a very long time. Well, in my opinion anyway.

But wait, Electronica was also lost somewhere amongst cheesy pop and other awfulness that we call good music nowadays; which would suggest to me that 'The Exits' have pulled on 2 golden balls instead of one; which should round up the fans from many a corner of genre.

All four tracks keep you listening straight from the start and I even got up for a ‘Bez’ bounce on several occasions.

Another surprising new release for me and I now desperately want to hear the synthesizers live, they will most definitely send the crowd wild!

Go check these guys out and I am sure you will agree that we do in fact need 'The Exits'.  *****

Review by Fluff


‘Maniac’ is the new single taken from pop punkers Reemer's up and coming album, due out in October.

'Reemer' have been together for 3 years and have already featured on Channel 4’s 'Hollyoaks' and have already been invited to record a track for the 'Mighty Boosh' podcast. They will be touring this summer including Festivals such as ‘Wakestock’ and London’s ‘Hard Rock Café’ only proving why they already have a massive fan base.

When I pressed play on my CD player and ‘Maniac’ started to play; I was under the assumption that this track was going to be like any other new release currently boring us in the charts and on radio air play. However, I was proven wrong with a mighty pelt in the ear drum, surprising me, that I do very much like this new track.

It is bouncy, upbeat, and very catchy and certainly a summer tune that deserves to be blown through your car speakers in the sun this summer. (I want to play it loud and have a dance whilst holding my iced glass of cider whilst sharing my happiness with friends!).

The B Side ‘Summer Sun’ is more melodic and calm, but classically written and beautifully follows ‘Maniac’. Both tracks are completely different to each other; showing the band’s easy diversity.

'Reemer' certainly know what they are doing already and I would be very surprised if either of the two tracks does not make the Top 20 this year. ‘Reemer’ are hopefully going to go along a way and I’ll be following them as new band that’s for sure! I can’t wait to hear the album in October! Good luck lads! ****1/2

Review by Fluff


With sub-Pat Benatar vocals and some intoxicating harmonies, The Score is pretty damn fine melodic pop/rock. Built around some choppy rhythm guitar work all it lacks is a few killer licks. And one suspects that played live this would be a real showstopper. ****

Review by Pete Whalley

THE TALKS Picture This

Very catchy tune and one that reminded me of the Feeling in the vocals but not the sound, which is more indie guitar led. A song you can easily see fitting into daytime radio and the other song on here, ‘Faces’ keeps up the high standard.

It is very hard for new bands to get established especially with the short attention span of younger music fans but the Talks do have an appeal across a wider audience and their debut album will certainly be one to hear later this year. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie

TEASING LULU Waste Of Time (Easy Action Records)

Punk pop-rockers from Brighton, and produced by old stager JJ Burnel from The Stranglers who knew a thing or two about high energy.

The band is fronted by Lucy Dalton and this (and the additional track 'ex factor') is highly infectious, bass-propelled fare. They could give that other hard rocking Brighton outfit McQueen a run for their money, or at least a damn good cat fight. ****

Review by David Randall

THE BRIGHTLIGHTS 3 (Distiller Records)

What has Grimsby given us? Peter Mars Cowling, bassist with Pat Travers. Dan Haigh, bassist with Fightstar. And lots of fish (bass?). This offering from the town's latest hopefuls has a really excellent, summer vibe and a chorus to die for. Leon Blanchard's vocals are distinctive, the guitars jangle, and there's no avoiding an unashamed headbang.

The extra track, 'Another Night' has a stylish orchestrated ending. Produced by Steve Power (Robbie Williams, Busted). ****

Review by David Randall


Taken from her charting Little Dreamer album, Beth - the latest darling of the Radio 2 / Norah Jones brigade - releases her 2nd single.

What you get is quality home grown adult orientated pop with the chorus, to my ears, reminding me of Minnie Ripperton's Loving You.

So while it June not break new ground, it equally won't scare the cat, or wake Granny from her afternoon nap. Quality stuff. ****

Review by Pete Whalley

AYREON vs. AVANTASIA Elected Inside Out

Apparently Arjen Lucassen (Ayreon) and Tobias Sammet (Avantasia) are bitter rivals releasing their latest albums on the same day. Mmm...seems more like a marketing ploy to get these two together to cover Alice Cooper's 'Elected'!

It is as you'd expect - an Ayreon song with Tobias adding his vocals. Also on this EP are three Ayreon songs - 'E=Mc2' in acoustic mode, the album version of 'Ride The Comet' and 'Day Six: Childhood' which is a stripped down version of piano and bass with vocals by Marjan Welmna. This alone is worth getting the EP for!

One for fans - a bit of fun with 'Elected' and two non-album tracks to further entice the fans in. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie

BIFF CLYRO Mountains

Never ones to rest on their laurels, and hot on the heels of their highly successful Puzzle album, Biffy will be releasing a brand new single in August to fill the gap until their next album release in 2009. It's typical Biffy fare - a gentle intro, before kicking in with choppy licks and a thunderous chorus. Mountains June not break any new ground, but fans won't be complaining about that. ***1/2

Review by Pete Whalley

THE RYES How Come Loretta

London based The Ryes release their debut single How Come Loretta - a piece of infectious summer pop from a band that are hotly tipped and have already played with the likes of Scouting For Girls, and Ben's Brother.

The single is a cheeky little number with vocals reminiscent of Justin Hawkins. And if they can come up with an album this good then The Ryes could be one of the breakthrough acts of 2008. ***1/2

Review by Pete Whalley

CHINA DOGS Social Breakout (EP)

This download (most sites) 4 track EP kicks off with "Social Breakout", which for indie/pop/punk is a decent track and a move away (upwards?) from all the usual strumming, and while it's not really rock, it does have a lot more balls than most of the NME aimed singles of the moment.

Second track "Small Town Boy" builds in similar fashion. There's more of The Clash in this lot than most young indie/punk wannabes.

I'll admit it's not my thing but a good score, so much better than the bulk of singles I get, the plethora of others sound the same compared to this. ***1/2

Review by Joe Geesin


This 4 track EP opens with the blistering "Thin Ice", with a nod at extreme metal and riffs influenced by Megadeth, 3 Inches Of Blood and Machine Head. As the song progresses you get a that dark Sabbath sound with a neat guitar solo over the top, before it's back to the crunchy extreme sound.

This 4 piece band feature twin guitars and fluctuate hard and soft vocals; "Save The Day" has a more melancholy intro - imagine if Radiohead did power metal?

Not as commercial as Iron Maiden or Megadeth but a nod in the right direction. ***1/2

Review by Joe Geesin


Growing Old Disgracefully band member Andrew Ian Dodge wrote these two songs along with John Haithwaite for his wedding last year to Kim Benson.

Obviously the songs are very personal and you do feel slightly like a voyeur on the country tinged ‘New Moon Woman’ which sees Kim on lead vocal and being honest I am not really taken with this song, slightly repetitive.

However, ‘Found’ is a much stronger tune and features Sacred Heart’s Paul Stead on guitar. Worth a listen for sure and with a very clean production throughout. ***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie


Metal 4 track EP with "Abandon" kicking off with a bass line. Nods at indie / disjointed metal with plenty of emotion and melody, crunchy and loud in places. "Twilight" is a similar track, "Unity" is more heads down punk metal in the guitar line.

"A Place To Stand" is a decent acoustic number.

Good Kerrang! / Metal Hammer fair. ***

Review by Joe Geesin

MIDASUNO Sister Temptation (Sugar Shack Records)

Last year's album 'Songs In The Key Of Fuck' has already been getting rave reviews, from Kerrang! and Rocksound to BBC Online. The opening track, the harsh frantic and riff led scream indie/alt metal "Sister Temptation" makes for a good single, if you like modern metal with a touch of electronic.

Touches of Queens Of The Stoneage and even The Wildhearts. Think of the catchiness of The Foo Fighters but with even less finesse.

Bolstered by 2 live tracks, should do OK. ***

Review by Joe Geesin

K.O.KAINE Play To Ghosts (Casket/PHD)

A pretty full on and in your face metal album, the second full album from this unit.

Opening track "We Are The Dead" really splits your ears with some neat guitar work and heavy riffs, with the harsh screamed vocals giving away the more extreme influences.

The bass work is very low, very heavy, and the drums crashing. On "Woman Butterflys Snakes" the vocals are choppy and underneath the extreme there are nods at Ministry, Deftones and Rob Zombie. The press release also cites Motley Crue but this is a little harder to see. Yes there are some glam rock moments but they are bubbling under a more industrial / contemporary sound.

"Faith Betrayal" does feature a keyboard break, adding a smooth prog metal touch, before the crunchy guitars and growls return.

Should appeal to most modern alternative rock/metal fans. ***

Review by Joe Geesin

MATTAFIX Things Have Changed

Jamaican rhythms mixed with hip hop and crystal clear Charles and Eddie style vocals are the signature of this second single to be released from Marlon Roudette and Preetesh Hirji’s second album Rhythm & Hymns under the name of Mattafix.

A quality world pop product that will brighten anyone’s summertime blues. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

OUT FROM ANIMALS The National Curriculum

Based in Chester, Out From Animals are a cross between The Zutons and Arctic Monkeys, with a hefty dose of punk and confusion thrown into the mix. The National Curriculum is their debut release. Raucous, raw and explosive, but with a few lucky breaks, these boys could be going places. ***

Review by Pete Whalley


A funky, jerky number reminiscent of Bowie's Fame period, but given an up to date punk / indie makeover. But this York / Leeds based band are one of the more original, well played and enjoyable outfits of this myspace era. And available free to download, you can't sneeze at the vfm. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

THOMAS WHITE The Runaround (Drift Records)

Slow build, keyboards and strumming in anthemic fashion. Think singer/songwriter does big sounding 80s pop/rock. Hard to place but a decent tune, multi layered, solid yet soft. ***

Review by Joe Geesin

PRIMAL SCREAM Can't Go Back (B-Unique)

Sampler for the forthcoming LP Beautiful Future, this track is a high tempo indie pop track with a full sound, a touch of guitar and a gothic rhythm. Plenty of "Wooo Woooo" backing vocals in the chorus, and an intentionally out of tune sound on the guitar break.

If there's one Primal Scream record to break the pop crowd while remaining classic Primal Scream, this is it, although I found 3 versions on the one CD rather heavy going. ***

Review by Joe Geesin


Dream Capture have been compared to pop/rock greats such as Fleetwood Mac and Texas. And the Mac comparison is obvious to see - especially to the Time line-up where Buckingham and Nicks had gone awol.

So what you get is a classy up tempo soft rock number with vocalist Evette Judge's vocals falling somewhere between Christine McVie and Sharleen Spiterri, but being as distinctive as neither. Pleasant enough, but likely to go the same way as Time (which bombed). ***

Review by Pete Whalley

BEN GLOVER & THE EARLS Things Haven't Started Happening Yet

The first single to be taken from his debut album The Week The Clocks Changed, kicks of with a Doobie Brothers Long Time Running guitar line before morphing into a modern countryesque pop/rock number.

It's no surprise therefore to find that the song was recorded in Nashville where this sort of stuff comes of the conveyor belt every day of the week. The b-side could so easily be Deacon Blue. You get the drift - not unpleasant, but hardly ground breaking. ***

Review by Pete Whalley


Taken from his new album Get Onboard, is a fusion of gospel, soul, r&b and pop. With a great vocal and some compelling support this is classy modern soul from the London-based American singer songwriter. It's the sort of stuff The Christians might have attempted in their heyday, but delivered with more roots authenticity. Classy. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

PAUL HEATON Mermaids & Slaves

Having split from his long time Beautiful South collaborator David Rotheray, Paul Heaton returns with the title track from his 14th studio album. It's a return to roots with a fresh, almost Housemartins / 10cc feel. But let's face it, you're never going to mistake Heaton for any other vocalist and his writing style is equally distinctive. As a result, this up tempo little jaunt would slot comfortably anywhere in his extensive back catalogue. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

No Association (Smalltown Records)

This band have already been getting rave reviews, including from Kerrang! and Bruce Dickinson.

The lead track is a high speed indie metal with plenty of grunge and hooks. Good range to the vocals - nice drum lines too. ***

Review by Joe Geesin


This 4 track single kicks off with the guitar indie of "Elliot", a choppy and optimistic piece with some nice guitar work.

"Hey You Space Ranger" is better; if it was less choppy it would be reminiscent of The Clash. "All Here" is a similar guitar pop / punk sounding number.

Sits somewhere between Kerrang! and NME. **1/2

Review by Joe Geesin

KARIN FANOUS Architect's Son

Up and coming singer-songwriter Karim Fanous releases his new single from his debut album. In truth, it's basic acoustic singer songwriter fare that Cat Stephens and the like were pedalling back in the 1970s.

But in comparison this is b-league stuff despite having Martin Terefe (KT Tunstall, James Morrison, Jason Mraz) in the production chair and Claes Bjorklund (Travis) requesting to play all the instruments. As for the b-side Top Of The World, it's simply cheesy. Unlikely to win any 'originality' wards. **1/2

Review by Pete Whalley

MAGIC ARM Widths And Heights (Switchflicker Records)

Reasonable indie pop, this band are playing the BBC Introducing stage at Glastonbury this year, one man multi-instrumentalist Marc Riglesford is a master of the tape loop, interesting horn sound and keyboards .

Single also includes a cover of Serge Gainsbourg's "Ballad Of Melody Nelson" which is worth checking out. **1/2

Review by Joe Geesin

LAST MAN DOWN Killing Time (Karate Kid Records)

Guitar pop with nods at rock and indie, and a distinctive hollow trebly guitar sound that seems to be popular with kids at the moment. The track fills out and the vocals do wail well.

"About You Now" is a cover, sounds familiar, probably better than the original. It mentions Sugarbabes here but my knowledge of their music is scant to say the hint.

Swap the tracks around, and strengthen the band to match the vocals and you might have a hit. **1/2

Review by Joe Geesin

Project Seven Records

Supposedly an alt/rock band, but the opening track is more of a mess, to be honest. And at over 35 minutes (2 tracks over 8 minutes) it's more like an album than EP.

The intro to the opening title track is the sound of a female orgasm in a battlefield before some jangly guitars come in, and the metal mixes indie and alt with a touch of extreme.

"I'm Always" features an interesting bass/drum rhythm, but whenever they have that or a good guitar riff, they ruin it with some noise. Alt/rock isn't so clever after all.

This band has too many influences, from Smashing Pumpkins to Aerosmith and even Nick Drake. And it's all given a garage rock feel to the alt sound.

Some good ideas, in places well executed, but presented shabbily. 

Review by Joe Geesin

TRIPWIRES Just So You Know

Melodic indie guitar pop with a vague rock feeling and customary jangly guitar sound.
Enjoyable vocals, music more solid than most. Very retro but kinda enjoyable with it. **1/2

Review by Joe Geesin


Want to make a budget video? This lot recorded under the watchful eye of Manchester CCTV cameras, securing the footage through the Freedom Of Information legislation. Novel idea. Check it out on youtube.

The music is competent strumming melancholy indie pop/rock, a nod at Radiohead. It's OK, but should do well with the novel marketing. **1/2

Review by Joe Geesin

Don't Blind Me With Science
You Can't Make Somebody Love You
Jezus Factory

Two singles here, available for download in June and July respectively.

The first "Don't Blind Me With Science" opens with some chaotic collective vocals (get your mates to chant something in a pub), before you get some competent and catchy if not quite in tune indie rock. Riff led, but a little repetitive. "Gentlemen On Crutches" is more keyboard led, of the tuneless variety. Definite home computer / bedroom feel. **

The second single kicks off with a retro keyboard riff and hand claps, definite 60s feel. The vocals ruin it by being sleazy and out of tune. "The Substitute" is more electronica with a slowed disco rhythm and vocals more out of place than the opening track. **

Listen online before you buy. Caution.

Review by Joe Geesin

NEPHU HUZZBAND Nurse! Nurse! huzzband

The lead track here is thankfully short, too short for a single at under 1'30" (the later 'edit' is longer).

Touch of punk and new wave brought to guitar indie. Even a bit of emo. A teenage bedroom affair, with applauds from The Fly and NME.

The second track "Lions Tigers & Bears" is slower, disjointed, and the drums have too much treble.

As the lead track's chorus tells us, "Nurse Nurse come quick". **

Review by Joe Geesin

KONG Blood Of A Dove/ A Hint Of Rennit Innit (7" / download)
Brew Records

Dirge indie/metal/mess suitable for anyone with half of the attitude problem the press release seems to have.

Half interesting guitar line, over what is effectively disjointed sludge, music and press release equally incomprehensible.

I did not make it to the b-side, nor will I ever have that inclination. DIY brain surgery is preferable. *

Review by Joe Geesin


Bad Ideas is a free, digital and analogue audio service from Vile Imbeciles – peddlers of junk funk death jazz. In truth, it is both vile, and a bad idea. I can put it no more bluntly. *

Review by Pete Whalley

THE RRRS My Valentino/Forbidden Kiss

Golly gosh is this single crap…try as I might it really is a pile of poop! The music is up tempo indie pop, nothing wrong with that but the vocals sounds like Crazy Frog meets a female Charles Aznavour impersonator. They are awful, sorry to say, and even sound out of tune on the choruses. Some music fans out there will like this but I doubt there will be many of you…*

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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