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Singles Bar: March 2009

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

RIESER Drinking Den EP

Scotland's Rieser released an excellent debut album a couple of years ago (Well Dressed Thief) and they've been treading the boards north of the border ever since. Hopefully they'll be pulled southward this year and on the strength of this four-track EP fully deserve wider recognition.

The EP is an excellent stop-gap before album no.2 and reflects the band's quality songwriting skills and ability to knock out tunes that repay repeated listening. You can't say that about many of the current crop of indie wannabes and Rieser have a maturity that will surely broaden their appeal to an older demographic as well as the young. I mean, come on, frontman Chris Blair even likes Jethro Tull.

All the right elements are in place on this: Drinking Den has U2 echoes (no bad thing as they are back in fashion), 'The Actor' bounces along like Franz Ferdinand, 'Call Me Round' recalls classic Cast and 'The Ringmaster' - long a live favourite - is like Big Country meets Runrig whilst saying hello to Alex Harvey.

In short, Rieser have pretty much got all bases covered and with the mandatory lucky break could be the next great Scottish export. If you are lucky to get the limited edition you'll have a beer mat to rest your celebratory glass on. And not before time, either. *****

Review by David Randall

>> Check out our Rieser Podcast

THE ANSWER On And On (Albert Productions)

The Irish blues rockers are on the ascendancy again and are currently supporting AC/DC on their world tour. If they don't go massive after that there is no hope, or justice.

Whilst there is nothing original in this track, it is very well done and - moreover - it keeps the classic rock flame burning.

A fast-paced rocker, it's probably best to enjoy this track on the new album 'Everyday Demons'. ****

Review by David Randall


Heaven's Basement remain unsigned and along with a number of 2009 UK contenders (including Voodoo Johnson, Jaded Heart ) are unlikely to remain so by the end of the year. They supported Thunder last year and this debut six-track EP captures their live sound and urgency.

'Tear Your Heart Out', 'Graduation" and "Fear Of Getting Off" are all the stuff of a sweaty night out in a rock club, throwing shapes that echo Page, Perry and Slash. An interesting future awaits. ****

Review by David Randall


GRTR! Rising Stars 25 Yard Screamer nail their colours firmly to the 1970s with Ghost - their first release since their excellent debut album - Cassandra.

A moody improvisation piece, with CSN/Home-era vocals over a gently strummed acoustic, and with some tasteful Gilmour style guitar circa 'On An Island' (The Blue/ Castellorizon).

An excellent number and a worthy addition to their canon, but in truth more an album track than a single. But then you could say that of much of Mr Gilmour's output as well. ****

Review by Pete Whalley

FIGHTSTAR Mercury Summer

Well who would have thought that from the ashes of Busted and over a beer or two at a Party Ė Fightstar were born, consisting of Alex Westaway, Charlie Simpson, Dan Haigh & Omar Abidi.

Mercury Summer is taken from the forthcoming album 'Be Human' due for release on 20 Apr 09 and I must say that I am impressed Ė not normally my style but with good lyrics and harmonies and a nice easy beat I think it will be a hit Ė yes its commercial but for some bands thatís what sells.

It has a more mature feel to it than previous outings and could project them towards an older audience, which isínt a bad thing.

Would I buy it? Honestly no but it will a hit I have no doubt. ****

Review by The Unforgiven

GRAMMATICS Shadow Committee (Dance To The Radio)

Grammatics have been described as prog but this is nothing of the sort: it's electronic art-rock that owes more to OMD than Genesis. Vocalist Owen Brinley has a distinctive style that makes me think of Sparks or even Dean Friedman. Don't let that put you off, this is pleasant enough fare punctuated by cello and the self-titled album (reviewed elsewhere) is quirky and worthy of your attention.

There's a non-album bonus, the acoustic 'Time Capsules & The Greater Truth' . ***½

Review by David Randall

DROPSCIENCE There's An Awful Lot Of Weirdo's In Our Neighbourhood (EP)

Punk Rock Ska, in a nutshell. This 5 track CD kicks off with the energetic 'Jack The Lad', that mixes The Clash with early Specials / TwoTone. Solid Ska with rough'n'ready guitars beefed up. The single 'Cocaine Nation' follows, well worth checking out.

After that the Ska influence is watered down, still strong, but little more than some punk bands had at the time.

The tracks are to the point, upbeat, raw, fun. ***½

Review by Joe Geesin


Anthoney Wright's recent single Reset To Zero got a fair degree of airplay on Radio 2. Yet another of the current crop of 'up and comings' seeking fame and fortune by revisiting the sixties - this time the sixties classic Motown and Stax era.

No Me Without You, taken from his debut album Feet On The Ground, and co-written and produced by Pete and Steve (Simply Red) Lewinson again hits the hits the money, and should cement his position on the Radio 2 playlists. ***

Review by Pete Whalley


Up and coming Welsh rockers Attack! Attack! release the third single from their eponymous album released last year.

It's a powerful and commercial number, with more rock thrown in than many of their indie contemporaries. Having already toured with Lostprophets, Funeral For a Friend and The Blackout, all the indications are that the band's punchy rock and chunky hooks could signal a big future.

And with with their previous single You And Me scheduled for inclusion on the next edition of the Guitar Hero video game, the future looks bright. ***

Review by Pete Whalley


Probably the most overtly commercial track on Marmaduke Duke's Duke Pandemonium album - a side project for Biffy Clyro guitarist Neil Simon and Sucioperro guitarist JP Reid, who for the purposes of a three part mythological musical trilogy are also known as The Atmosphere and The Dragon.

Sampling a Billy Joel classic, Rubber Lover is a massive slice of hook laden pop / rock takebn from an album that sees the pair experiment outside of their envelope. Catchy, but at 1 minute 54 seconds, too brief by far. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

YOU ME AT SIX Save It For The Bedroom

Having supported Fall Out Boy on their arena tour, You Me At Six are hoping that 2009 will prove a fruitful year. Save It For The Bedroom is an uptempo piece of indie rock with a stuttering rhythm, shouty vocals and will no doubt be a summer festival favourite.

Taken from Take Off Your Colours, the track has already attracted over 2 million myspace plays. Impressive numbers, but to my jaded ears they could be one of, oh so many bands. ***

Review by Pete Whalley


Fronted by Trace Cyrus, son of Billy Ray and brother of teen sensation Miley Cyrus, Metro Station deliver a NYC take on the indie brit pop scene. They sound so scarily like an NME tour band (with perhaps just a little more US pizazz) that one wonders how they can possibly fail.

If this sort of stuff is going to take off Stateside as well, we're all doomed. Doomed, I tell you. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

MC RUT  25 Years EP

With a name like MC, I was expecting MC Rut to be some sort of unpleasant rap act. In fact, MC stands for Middle Class, and there's no a rap insight.

Quite the reverse, MC Rut - fresh out of Sacramento - serve up a feisty dish of raw rock from the Jane's Addiction cook book. Which is quite remarkable given that MC Rut are just two men - singer / guitarist Zack Lopez and drummer / vocalist Sean Stockham.

Each one of the 6 bludgeoning tracks on this new ep was written, performed and produced by the duo and it's like hitting a brick wall at 30 mph. Pounding rhythms, raw vocals and some meaty guitar work make White Stripes look like a pair of pussycats. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

GO AUDIO Drive To The City

Go Audio's third single Drive To The City is another epic slice of pop. After releasing their first two singles on epic, the band have gone indie as they prepare for the release of their debut album Made Up Stories in May.

Another anthemic single, Drive To The City mixes disco synths with big pop chorus, and can only enhance the band's growing reputation. ***

Recview by Pete Whalley

BRIGADA MERCY Roto Chico (Triumphant Sound Records)

Quirky punk pop with eastern European touches. This is the closest I've heard to Flipron. It's good, but the vocals and guitar aren't in Jesse Budds league.

Nice tune, worth a listen, but I wouldn't buy it. **½

Review by Joe Geesin

THE GENTLEMEN Sending Cards (Stereo Tree)

The first single from The Gentlemanís sophomore album (the pretentiously titled ĎA Candid History Of Faith, Love, Hopeí) is perfect for the indie radio but others may find it to be dull and lacking spark.

The Sheffield four-piece have quite a loyal following in their native North East and their debut album sold in its thousands. ĎSending Cardsí is too middle-of-the-road with a lack of originality and excitement. The production is good but itís hardly something that will set the world alight. Itís not the best first single for a new album. **½

Review by Neil Daniels

CASTROVALVA Castrovalva (Brew Records)

This young band's first full release on the Brew label, and from the outset serious case of 'What The F**K??!!'

The two piece band (drums, bass, noise manipulation) kick off with 'Max Rhodes', a driving bass line that is hypnotically alluring and extremely annoying at the same time, worsened by the fact that everything is distorted.

Some interesting work, between metal, rhythms and axe work; occasionally disjointed, but the big problem is the noise. Between feedback and distortion this leaves your brain, eardrums and bowels numb and fuzzy. It's not a pleasant feeling. **

Review by Joe Geesin


Formed in Hull in 2006, Kieronononon, are a bunch of mad b---ds. And they deliver what they like to term as 'brutaltechnopunk'.

It's a kitchen sink effort. Everything is thrown into the mix and then put through a blender. A sonic assault. Completely bonkers. And it's hard to imagine that, even completely stoned, you could 'get off' on loony tunes such as Vampire Vodka Party? and And Dinner was ruined. This ruined mine. *

Review by Pete Whalley


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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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