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Singles Bar: July 2009

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


A little-known Roy Orbison track is in the very capable hands of the duo Martyn Shone and Lindsay O'Mahony who have received acclaim for their business model as much as their debut album.

Our reviewer Pete Whalley liked their 2008 debut 'Rising Up' (which is now getting renewed promotion with this song as a bonus track) and couldn't quite find a pigeon-hole.

This means that they may be too pop for a rock crowd and too rocky for a pop audience. If  Wogan calls a band 'mean, moody and magnificent' they may have problems.

But, whatever, this single is a gorgeous meld of radio-friendly acoustic guitars, country/folk overtones, and Lindsay's excellent lead vocal and harmonies. It reminds me of a more poppy Cardigans mixed with Mirage-period Fleetwood Mac. ****

Review by David Randall

ART BRUT DC Comics and Chocolate Milkshake/Weird Science (Cooking Vinyl FRYDL393)

Any band with a front man called Eddie Argos has got to have something going for it. And through series of fragmented musical outpouring and support from the likes of Frank Black (The Pixies) who produced both the single 'DC Comics' and the album ‘Art Brut vs. Satan’, Argo’s Art rockers have successfully carved out their own humorous post-Punk slice of the market place, even managing to place their music in such non traditional outlets such as Play Station. But let’s not hold that against them.

On second thoughts perhaps Art Brut should not be regarded so much as a post-Punk outfit, but rather a band that recycles retro musical influences through humorous lyrical whimsy. And while much like their northern counterparts The Lancashire Hotpots, Art Brut make the most of their funny lyrics, there is undoubtedly a lot more going on musically here. From the evocative Jean-Jacques Burnel style rumbling bass lines of Freddy Feedback to Argo’s Hugh Cornwall style phrasing and Mikey Breyer's feverish drumming, this is pure 1977.

In fact those Punks who survived the excesses of the era might even recall the influences of Splodgenous Abounds, Otway and even the sneering John Cooper Clark. Art Brut is not so much a case of old wine in new bottles as a conduit between the past and present. But what sets Art Brut in the vanguard of funny contemporary punk poetry is their combination of clever word play and fiery playing and they rock out unrelentingly from first to last. Put simply if the licks don’t get you the words will.

Thus ‘DC Comics and Chocolate Milkshakes, Some things will always be great, ‘DC Comics and Chocolate Milkshakes, Even though I’m 28, DC Comics and Chocolate Milkshakes, I guess I’m just developing late ‘DC Comics and Chocolate Milkshakes, I never got over that amazing taste’

Then after some brief Metal riffing, mini power chords and more impressive post Stranglers rumbling bass, Argos raps out ‘I’m in love with the girl in my comic shop, she’s a girl that likes comics….. She probably get’s it a lot’.

A combination of his behind the beat phrasing and a stop-time musical counterpunch works brilliantly. Art Brut is the kind of band that can make you laugh and punch the air simultanously as they rock out with best of them.

And while the additional track ‘Weird Science’ is best regarded in the old fashioned sense as a B-side, Argos uses the opportunity to narrate his odd behaviour; ‘I was happy just drinking until someone mixed it with some Science Fiction’.

Newcomers to the band might consider Eddie Argo’s musings to be strange enough to have emanated from Sci-Fi sources, but fans will lap up the new single, safe in the knowledge that Art Brut continue to tread their own path full of uncompromising retro rocking, perceptive humour and the occasional classic word play. ****

Review by Pete Feenstra


Looking like a younger, fresher Slipknot (with less scary masks!!) and mixing modern rock production with a hint of Linkin Park sound, this track has aggression, swagger and hit written all over it.

Having recently played at the Download Festival, Hollywood Undead will appeal to a younger rock music audience whilst still keeping the interest of the seasoned listener.

The band will no doubt be back on these shores later in the year in support of the album 'Swan Songs'. ****

Review by Nikk Gunns

BLAZING CLASH Princess Of Rock

A self produced 5 track effort from this Italian trad metal and thoroughly enjoyable it is too.

The opener 'Prelude' nods at melodic power metal with a progressive edge, then it’s classic riffs all the way. 'Back From The War' is a solid metal number with touches of Iron Maiden and Saxon, and equally to late 80s second wave NWoBHM bands like Excalibur and Marshall Law.

'Made Up To Be A Monster' picks up to be a monster indeed, with more of the Marshall Law in your face here. Rough, in your face and Priest like riffs aplenty. The high screams in 'The Hammer' match Halfords, but the music is a tad rougher than Priest’s. That said, the guitar produces some fine work. The closing title track adds a touch of Motorhead into the mix.

Whether retro, classic or cliché, this is solid trad metal. ****

Review by Joe Geesin


Modern (and ever so slightly alternative) take on the like of The Cult, Iggy Pop and Guns'n'Roses. Twangy, sleazy rock'n'roll. Touches of Marilyn Manson too. The single comes with two bonus tracks and cut to look like a 7" single.

Modern retro. ***

Review by Joe Geesin

EBONY TOWER Dead Planets New Stars (EP) Red Chord Records

This group is the brainchild of guitarist Wilson McQueen and classically trained violinist Skye Sheridan. Opening track 'White Rabbit' mixes classic prog metal with classical music. A nod at a very heavy metal version of Kansas perhaps? Other tracks on the EP equally mix powerful female vocals and heavy riffs. Some good stuff, but the production is a little harsh/bright. ***

Review by Joe Geesin


Two London bands who met sharing a studio complex ended up sharing this 6 track EP with 3 tracks each.

My Friend Eject kick off with 'Digital Love', 'More Ice' and 'Army Of One', quirky hard rock with touches of Muse and Prodigy. Some interesting touches, and good guitar work too, it’s a noisy avalanche too. A nod at the guitar pop of The Klaxons keep it accessible.

Exits Fade kick off with 'Split The Sky', 'Harpoon Tragedy' and 'Into The Fire'. There is a strong nod at alternative rock, their first track alternates had riffs, with chopping rhythms. 'Harpoon Tragedy' is moodier, a doomy Emo feel.

A good intro to both bands. Will appeal to the younger generation. ***

Review by Joe Geesin

THE TEASERS Sooner or Later (Bucks Music)

The Teasers were recently voted number 1 in the Vodafone Music Award for Best Unsigned Band, and it is not hard to see why. The band are a nice departure from the current crop of female vocalists and sit nicely somewhere between Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Ladyhawke.

The single features the original version of 'Sooner or Later' in addition to 3 remixes from, what we are assured, cutting-edge producers. The song itself is a fairly easy going, summery number and will no doubt prove to be popular. ***

Review by Nikk Gunns

IVY YORK The Call Of Spring EP

New 5 track EP from this young Australian vocalist. Recorded largely as a duo, the title track is a reworking of a 1950’s Bollywood track with Britpop influences. The female vocals work well, the music is dark, melodic, indie and, although well arranged, pretty basic. Even orchestration, or layered backing vocals on later tracks can’t save the day. Far too whimsical.

The voice is good, but so much more could be done with it. Not so much rock chick as very soft putty.  **

Review by Joe Geesin

TRASHCAN SINATRAS I Wish You'd Met Her (Lo-Five Records)

Indie pop with vocal harmonies that hark at 70s radio US FM. BeeGees meets guitar pop and without the melody. Five years since their last album. Couldn't they have waited 50?

The new album features Carly Simon (the only saving grace) - a set that features plenty of strumming, aimlessness; guitar pop gone whimsical. Only marginally better than the single.

Review by Joe Geesin

BRIGADA MERCY Recovering Catholic / Roto Chico

Indie guitar music trying to be leftfield, with a touch of Eastern European rhythms. If Flipron got something completely right, 'Recovering Catholic' misses the mark wider than a poor-sighted drunk at a shooting competition, his dog barking up completely the wrong tree.

The second track tries harder to be like Flipron, marginally better than the first track but, no, it's gone, by brain has just f-----d off. I'm going too.

Review by Joe Geesin

HISTORY OF GUNS When You Don't Matter / Slice Up Your Wife (Double A-side single)

After a few spoken words by someone sounding like a drug addict on his death bed, the music on 'When You Don't Matter' is slow, powerful, dark, gothic, featuring keyboards and programmed. Think The Mission on a depressed note, playing an Erasure song.

'Slice Up Your Wife' is an alternative/bedroom/programmed/crap version of The Spice Girls' 'Spice Up Your Life', with different lyrics, sampling the girls too. Jesus Christ this is f-----g amateur.

This would be an insult to both desk and mug if I used it as a coffee cup coaster. I daren't make it to the 3rd track I want to keep my bowels intact.

I'm so embarrassed I'm not even going to sign off with my real name. *

Review by Ed Stone

THE VIRGINS One Week Of Danger (Atlantic)

Already loved by NME, Clash, The Fly and The Guardian; that's four death warrants, I think I'll make it five.

This is garage rock / guitar pop with a jangly and slightly distorted guitar.

Two minutes and forty four seconds of danger that goes nowhere.

Did my player spit this out before I spat out my tea? It's a very close call. *

Revire 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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