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Singles Bar: August 2008

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

WIRED DESIRE Barely Illegal EP

Wired Desire are an impressive addition to the growing ranks of young bands ploughing the furrow of classic rock n roll. The Scottish quintet, aged between just 20 and 22, have recently supported Nazareth and seem already to have attracted endorsements from the industry.

On this, their debut EP, opener No One Sleeps fairly explodes into life with a brash sound rarely heard since Appetite for Destruction, while a cover of George Thorogood's The Hard Stuff shows the band's bluesier nature with vocalist Kieran Daly sounding a little like Bon Scott. Damn Hard and Ride, featuring some blistering riffs and solos from guitarists Jam and Eddy ensure the pace is maintained right to the end. The production is crisp and brings out the band's youthful swagger.

The press biography cites such influences as the Stones and ZZ Top, but for me their sound is prime time eighties sleaze and glam rock - Daly's raspy vocals calling to mind blasts from the past like Faster Pussycat and D*A*D. For some they will be an acquired taste but this EP shows a fresh band with real promise.****

Review by Andy Nathan

GLYDER Weather The Storm EP

Glyder have been touring relentlessly supporting amongst others Thunder, Fish and coming up this autumn Y&T plus a few rock festivals as well. This EP is released to keep the fans happy with some new material and all songs on here are ones the band feel don’t fit on either of the two albums released so far by the band. The cover artwork is top draw as well being created by Mark Wilkinson (Fish/Marillion).

The band have John ‘Fist’ Mulrooney adding keyboards on the EP and it works a treat especially on the title track which starts of like a Police song before going all Pink Floyd in the mid-section with some lovely keys/guitar interplay. A really stunning piece of music that sees the band stretch themselves musically coupled with discovering new musical avenues.

The EP opens with a cover of fellow Irish band the Stunning’s ‘Brewin’ Up A Storm’ which is more like the Glyder sound along with ‘Love Never Dies’, a song inspired by Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’. Not so keen on ‘Fill Your Head With Rock’ which the band recorded for the Sweden Rocks festival, along with other bands who all had to record a new song with this same song title.

Luckily the EP finishes on a real high note with the blues meets rock ‘n’ roll of ‘Lay Down’. Again not your typical Glyder tune but certainly worth getting a full release and the guitar solos are again top notch.

EP releases by bands can be very hit and miss, often only appealing to the hard core of fans but luckily this EP will please existing fans and hopefully draw in some new ones. The title track alone makes this a ‘must have’ CD.

Having followed this band since their early days it is great to see them a) try new musical ideas and more importantly b) getting the critical acclaim they so justly deserve. Along with the Answer, Jaded Sun and Rose Hill Drive, Glyder are one of the best of the newer breed of rock bands out there. Grab this EP and go see ‘em live… ****

Review by Jason Ritchie

ROYWORLD Brakes (Virgin)

Power pop and perfect for the radio. Royworld neatly bridge that tricky Radio 1 or 2 playlist elephant trap, which is no easy trick. Cool, but at the same time melodic and steeped in insanely catchy rock melodies.

Lets face it, Coldplay have seen better days, there's no sign of anything fresh from Snow Patrol, The Verve are trading on past glories and it’s about time some young pretenders stepped up to the mark.

So do yourself a favour, check this out and also Royworld's debut album Man In The Machine. They could well be the future, and it's difficult to see how they aren’t simply going to take America by storm. Quality pop/rock. ****

Review by Pete Whalley

THE LIGHTS - The Fair Weather Travelling Companion

I was rather taken with The Light's last single - The Score with its sub-Pat Benatar vocals and intoxicating harmonies, and with this new ep the band have evolved in a direction I perhaps wouldn't have expected. Moving away from the pop rock sound of The Score to something more folk orientated. In particular Film Within A Film and The Leaving Song evoke memories of Poppies In A Field Of Corn period River City People (a much loved and much missed band). Elsewhere Kellio shares lead vocals with Lizzy Keys, the acoustic duet Stop Carrying On being particularly poignant. ****

Review by Pete Whalley

THE VERVE Love Is Noise (Parlophone)

Fresh from Glasto and with a V appearance in August. This is typically Verve, an underpinning infectious guitar/synth vibe and - frankly - it reminds me of Simple Minds. The band don't fail to deliver the big chorus either. This is a summer radio hit in the making and hopefully a portent of good things to come,  via the album out on August 18. ***½

Review by David Randall


Written in the dressing room and 'tested out' on her recent Liejacker tour, Come Up With Me is being released as a single after a deluge of requests from the fans that heard it.

Its easy to see why - a jaunty folk / pop / rock song perfectly fitting with the Liejacker material, featuring a 'sing along' chorus, and Thea's gorgeous vocals. What's not to like?

And if you missed out on seeing Thea last time round, don't worry - she'll be doing a headline tour in November. ***½

Review by Peter Whalley


This new single precedes the new album ‘The Cosmos Rocks’ due in September, marking the first Queen album to feature Paul Rodgers on vocals and the band’s first new album since the mid-90’s. Written by Roger Taylor the lyrics take a swipe at the C-list celebrities out there and the media/public obsession with these nonentities.

Rodgers gives his usual assured vocal performance with Brian May and Roger Taylor adding the classic Queen choir backing vocals, who are joined by Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins on this song. It’s not a bad song but certainly not a classic Queen single – it just lacks any real clout in the chorus and the Brian May guitar solo is very short indeed!

Worth a listen, doubt it will win over any new fans to the band being brutally honest but can’t wait for the new album! ***

Review by Jason Ritchie

ELENA Pink Punk

Elena continues to serve up her retro sound with her new single Pink Punk. The early punk period Blondie (or perhaps Lena Lovich) remains a valid comparison in terms of overall song structure and sound, but it's Elena's sultry, addictive vocals (falling somewhere between Cerys Mathews, Marianne Faithful, and Hazel O'Connor) that are the unique selling point. Catchy. ***

Review by Peter Whalley


Hard, heavy and hot female fronted rock 'n' roll from Bristol. I like it. Raw, both in the band's sound (a garage version of Hydrogyn with undertones of the likes of Lizzy and Motley Crue) and in vocalist Laura's throaty delivery. Even the band's name is great.

All the ingredients for success are here on this 5-track sampler, with perhaps the only absence that of a guiding hand in the production chair to polish the band's sound into something more overtly commercial. The vocal potential is there, as are the licks and hooks, but it needs honing and a sprinkling of magic production dust if the band are to break big. In the meantime, definitely one to watch. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

JASON MRAZ  Make it Mine

The second single to be lifted from Jason's We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things album and released in advance of his one off show at The Royal Albert Hall on September 23rd.

Fresh from his Hyde Park performance in June alongside Eric Clapton, Sheryl Crow and John Mayer, this is clean-cut soft pop rock with Earth Wind And Fire style horns. It most likely ain't gonna appeal to your average Guns 'n' Roses fan but it's easy listening at its best - immaculately sung, played and recorded.

And Jason looks remarkably like Hugh Grant on the sleeve, so one for the girls, me thinks. ***

Review by Pete Whalley


A five piece from South Wales, The Hustle serve up 'American indie melded with British rock'. And this promo is a taster for their forthcoming debut album Things I Wish Were Mine that is set for autumn release.

The band's modus operandi are big choruses, staccato rhythms, and a strong sense of melody and I don't know about the American indie, but These Days brings to mind images of Elvis Costello and Squeeze. There's a neat balance between pop and rock, the lead single Wish I Had the Time again bringing to mind the strengths of the Difford/Tillbrook school of songwriting. But Good intentions shows that they are equally capable of rocking out sounding like Squeeze jamming with ZZ Top. ***

Review by Peter Whalley

i CONCUR Oblige

Part of the growing Leeds scene, Oblige is i Concur's 2nd single following hot on the heels of the double A side Lucky Jack / Build Around Me.

Described in their PR as mid-west indie driving to a delayed post -rock crescendo, the band share a similar song structure and guitar sound to their fellow Leeds and lower cased i contemporaries iLiKETRAiNs. That is, a slow burn leading to fever pitch. Only i Concur have a far more commercial sound, with the B side Captors delivering a potent post punk rock that bodes well for their debut album due next year. One to watch. ***

Review by Peter Whalley

EXLOVERS The Ruins / S.O.F / Weightless

This is a sampler of 3 recently recorded tracks by Exlovers - an indie / pop / alternative band formed last/this year who serve up a dreamy pop laced with boy-girl vocals that has a laid back 1960's San Francisco retro flower power feel. Pleasant fare that can be listened to free of charge on their myspace page. ***

Review by Peter Whalley


The debut EP from South London and Portsmouth band Tiny Spark, who remarkably have an endorsement from Ben Sherman clothing and are set to preview the single at the flagship Carnaby Street store, followed by an in-store tour across the UK. As good a way to get exposure (and free shirts?) as any

Melodic pop/rock with an alt country twist rooted firmly in the sixties, with Never Met That Girl the pick of the bunch with its film score backdrop and hook. You can here snippets, but not the full tracks (unusual for an unsigned band) on their myspace page. ***

Review by Peter Whalley


One of Ireland's best kept secrets, Ann Scott was nominated in the best female category for the 2005 and 2007 Irish Meteor Awards and with 2 critically acclaimed albums already under her belt is fast establishing a reputation as an intense performer and firebrand songwriter.

But Ann prefers to come from left field, with unusual melodies, newfangled synths , detuned mandolas and quirky ideas. So 'orthodox' is not a word in her dictionary. With breathy vocals, a trance like rhythm, and a big hook, Imelda is a slow burner falling somewhere between Tori Amos and Sarah McLachlan territory. ***

Review by Peter Whalley

FLIPRON Book Of Lies/Mess It Up (Tiny Dog)

It's only Englishmen who can be mad as wasps yet brilliant at the same time.

And, fresh from six performances at Glastonbury, Fliptron are pushing out this double A side single in advance of their third album - Gravity Calling, which is due to land on Earth sometime in October. And for added value (and incentive) a bonus none album track - The Uses Of Superstition is included for good measure.

If you know anything about Fliptron - an act who draw on musical influences as wide as 1920' Hawaiian Steel guitar rags, 30s Klezmer stomps, Chicago Blues, classic French Chanson, laid-back Western Swing, old time Folk ballads, Bollywood torch songs and 60's British pyschedelia as well as pop eccentrics such as Ray Davies, Syd Barrett, Alex Harvey, Ian Dury, and The Specials - you'll know never to know what to expect.

And to add an extra sprinkle of madness to the mix, that well-known Looney Tune Rat Scabies is lounging comfortably in the production seat.

Unique and measured madness. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

JACK JOHNSON Sleep Through The Static (Brushfire)

There's no denying Jack Johnson is one cool dude. And there's no denying he's the sound of summer. Or would be if it would stop pissing down for 5 minutes.

His Sleep Through The Static album has already been #1 in the UK, the States and six other countries and now the title track is being released as a single - just to maintain Jack's profile past his recent hugely successful UK dates, and presumably to finance his return airfare.

It's everything you would expect of JJ - laid back, acoustic and warming. Nothing more or nothing less. Perfect for snoozing in a deck chair by the sea. ***

Review by Pete Whalley


This disco/electronic reworking of Eartha Kitt's 1953 track I Want To Be Evil has already featured on three movies soundtracks and picked up airplay. In truth it's something of a novelty record that wouldn't be out of place in an Austin Power's movie.

But it works best as an audiovisual experience, and I recommend you check out the YouTube video - you'll never think of Barbie the same way again. And if that tickles your fancy, check out Nancy Farmer's website for some hardcore Barbie action. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

SMUDGE Stay Feel Regret EP

Smudge are 5 young lads from Wigan who decided after a Blink 182 gig that rock n roll was the life for them. With a diverse range of influences within the band they serve up their anthemic punk/indie/dance/altrock sound. Flat Line could so easily be Biffy Clyro, Stay Feel Regret is more straight pop rock, while Lock + Load simply rocks out. Promising. ***

Review by Pete Whalley


Dead Young Records are committed to vinyl. Limited edition, poster dressed 10 inchers. And if that isn’t enticing enough, they’re dressed in art with hand pressed logos on the labels, Polaroid shots of the bands slipped into the sleeves sealed by hand with candle wax. That’s love and dedication.

So the packaging is spot on – what of the grooves? The Dead Young Club features what you would expect – up and coming acts.

Volume 1 showcases The Cucibal from Liverpool whose track Edward The Confessor owes a debt to Beefart, A Love Supreme from Wallasey who serve up a healthy dose of British Sea Power style Brit pop/rock in the form of I Know You Got Soul, Carlisle’s The Lucid Dream’s space rock number I Got The Devil, and Un Clyfe from Yucatan – a lengthy Sigur Ros style piece inspired by homeland of Wales.

A neat idea, but whether buyers are going to appreciate the diverse range of talents on offer enough to shell out is an open question. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

SMITH 6079 Ghosts

New single from a band who have already won a few awards. Well written rock with guitar pop and indie leanings. Think Kasabian with a bit more meat. Mean and moody and a little bit spaced with it.

For a new band releasing singles you could do a lot worse than check these guys out. ***

Review by Joe Geesin

COLIN MACINTYRE Famous For Being Famous

Taken from his current album The Water produced by Nick Fanglen (Lemon Jelly), Famous For Being Famous is a big slice of up-tempo pop taking a satirical look at celebrity culture. With three self produced and critically acclaimed albums under his belt under the name of Mull Historical Society, the question is will Famous For Being Famous make this Scottish, singer songwriter, multi instrumentalist and producer, famous? Sorry Colin, I suspect not. **½

Review by Peter Whalley


Not content with the revenues form his own prolific output, JJ is using his name (and a couple of his own tracks to attract buyers in) to introduce us to other artists of the genre promoted on his own label Bushfire Records. Who does the man think he is? Levi Roots?

The 2 JJ tracks - Adrift, and Let it be Sung (with Zach Gill and Matt Costa from the Brokedown Melody soundtrack) are just what you would expect - low key, gentle and soothing grooves. And while I like some JJ, I wouldn't say either were representative of the best he can deliver.

Matt Costa and Zach Gill both get tracks of their own. Matt's track Miss Magnolia sounds uncannily like Mungo Gerry's In The Summertime and is at least up tempo, while Leo Sayer tribute, while Zach's is a breathy soulful workout with echoes of Moby.

Elswehere you're unlikely to know the artists (which is the idea of this showcase) - G Love & Special Sauce (calypso soul), Neil Halstead (a JJ style vocal, with a hint of folk), Mason Jennings (calypso piano and drums), Rogue Wave (off key Simon & Garfunkle), Alo (Caribbean soul) and Money Mark (experimental soul).

If you're a JJ fan, thre may be something her to light your fire. But for me, not so much as a spark. **½

Review by Peter Whalley

DOLIUM El Vampiro Attack! (EP) (Parlour 9 / Cargo)

DIY Rock'n'Roll, with the duo of drums and bass angle. Manic, indie, furious. The dark and gothic end of what would sit neatly between Kerrang! and NME. "You've Got Holes!" will knock your brains out.

"(She Can't) Stake My Heart!" is from the album 'Hellhounds On The Prowl'. Metal vocals and operatic screams aplenty.

Interesting, some good melodies, but just a bit too homemade for my liking. **½

Review by Joe Geesin


Uptempo punk metal from this young band, kicking off with the odd but good "We Disco You Ain't". There's a punk intro before the more extreme metal direction takes over, it's punchy and noisy.

Some good moments, but the tracks are a little samey, and the EP does suffer from thin production. Things can only get better for them. **½

Review by Joe Geesin

SERGEANT BUZFUZ Here Comes The Popes Part 3/Dentist To The Stars
(Blang Records)

A very odd mixture of pop, rock and psychedelia, there's a strong element of 60s garage with strings. There's a touch of folk to the psychedelia on the b-side, maybe a nod at Syd Barrett.

Not cheesy catchy, but somehow catchy and rather dire at the same time. **

Review by Joe Geesin

LAUREL COLLECTIVE International Love Affair

A multi cultural six piece (hailing form Wales, England, Nigeria and Italy) Laurel Collective serve up a meaty slice of Brit? pop that owes it’s roots deep in the 1980’s when Dinosaurs like Duran Duran and The Thompson Twins trod the boards.

An up tempo number with a driving techno beat, nice vocals, a catchy chorus and even hints of funk, it most falls neatly into the niche that The Wombats have carved out and made their own. This doesn’t challenge the best that the likes of The Wombats have to offer, but it’s not without appeal. **½

Review by Pete Whalley

GUNNER SGT The End Of The Line

Dirty sleazy rock'n'roll with a sludgy indie rock feel. Opening track "Dirty Gunners" has all the finesse of a NWoBHM bootleg or an Oasis demo, mixed with some AC/DC et al.

Passable, it has its moments, worth a listen but not sure if I'd buy it.  **½

Review by Joe Geesin

THE SCRATCH Girls World/Sweet Surprise

Fresh from supporting The Holloways, The Scratch release a double A side single. Girls World has a semi catchy chorus and falls somewhere between Bowie's Laughing Gnome period and Squeeze. But it has no spark and is frankly uninspired, while Sweet Surprise what The Sweet might have sounded like if they tried to cover The Pistols. As a package, it just leaves you with a single though - ‘why'? **

Review by Pete Whalley

ANNE WEST Missed It Again (DB Charm)

Blonde, perfect teeth and a former model. That works for me.

Anne West has had a varied (non musical) career to date and her debut album Confidante - due in autumn - has been a long time coming. Her PR blurb hints at contemporary Carly Simon pop with Celtic melodies and Nashville craftsmanship.

That sounds a heady and intoxicating mix. The reality is unfortunately somewhat different - pop yes, a hint of Nashville, yes, pleasant yes. But it's the sort of material Emma Bunton may well deliver. In a word, lightweight. Sorry. **

Review by Pete Whalley

KIERONONONON Brutaltechnopunk (mini album) Roxxor

Certainly not off the peg, as I don't think they'd fit anyone. Music crazier and more incomprehensible than the name. Very DIY, this is alt / indie metal with an extreme garage (or is that garden shed?) feel.

Bursts of everything, from noise, drums, guitars, screams, processed indie vocals, to lighter even jangly edges.

This 5 track EP / mini album is about as much as anyone could take of this band. The press release calls them unpredictable. They are in fact un-everything except noisy, messy and experimental. Distinctly lo-fi.

There are some good ideas, the odd melody that stands out, but it's so... I don't know what.

Relevant only by their irrelevance. *½

Review by Joe Geesin

LANGUAGE Macadamia / We Are Here
Little Power Records

From the opening the bars of "Macadamia" I am thinking "What The F**K" throughout the song. I almost have to go back to see if I can believe my ears. Basically, I can't. Crappily catchy indie rock'n'roll. And the disco styled electronic 'shots' may have worked for Kiss in 1979 but they are vomit inducing here.

Beyond that, it's hard to pinpoint what's wrong with the track as the musicianship is OK. This makes you realise that the only thing worse than the wrong direction is indecision on which direction. Indie with too much else in it.

The second track is less annoying but still not working in any way.

Maybe welcome at NME but not with me in anyway whatsoever.  *½

Review by Joe Geesin


Ambient and atmospheric doom metal. Yes, really.

Opening track "My Sins", with all the subtlety of Geoff Capes using you as a shot-put, redefines Tank's brand of cement mixer metal to the extreme. Put someone in a cement mixer with a tonne of gravel, some pins and sulphuric acid, and imagine that as background music. This band make Napalm Death sound like Mozart.

The second track continues in a similar fashion, with less variety than a Status Quo medley and less tune than a deaf person trying to sing tunelessly. Some weird electronic effects don't so much break things up as have you wondering what the hell is going on.

Track three is slower, sludgier, more spaced out. I think someone just threw Hawkwind into the cement mixer.

I had to stop there, my bowels gave up.

Defecation Difficulties Guaranteed. *

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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