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Singles Bar: September 2009

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

PAALMER Old School EP (FM)

At last a band billed as punk rock who actually are. None of this Green Day watered down pseudo guitar pop rubbish. And it's taken a French band to show us how it's done.

Opening track 'Punkrocker' is blistering, while 'Sleep With U' is sleazy punk meets rock'n'roll.

'Ramones Fever' says it all really. ****

Review by Joe Geesin

EYE 2 Hearts

Swedish melodic rockers who aim to replicate the recent success of bands like H.E.A.T. Always a good sign when a band member sports a Journey t-shirt in a band photo and Eye do use the Journey approved harmony vocals to good effect.

‘Hearts (Lovers Apart)’ is a great song, led by a catchy keyboard/guitar riff this is an instant hit on the listener. ‘Restless Dreams’ is another cracking up tempo melodic rocker and again good use of keys/guitar throughout. Vocalist Oz Osukara certainly hits the high notes on this one. ‘Without You’ sounds better in acoustic mode with the piano taking the instrumental lead.

A very decent EP and one worth checking out if you enjoy H.E.A.T. Bad Habit and the Poodles. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie


The biggest current name in Aussie pop, and now based in LA, 24 year old sisters Lisa and Jessica Origliasso (aka The Veronicas) are now looking for American/European success.

And 4 Ever looks almost certain to achieve that goal. Produced and written by Max Martin and Lukasz 'Dr. Luke) Gottwald (Britney Spears, Kelly Clarkson, Pink) it's got 'X Factor' written all over it.

It may be formulated, and could so easily be Pink, but that makes for perfect radio friendly pop. On this form, their album Hook Me Up - which has had massive success back at home and is due for imminent release - looks set to achieve global domination. ***½

Review by Pete Whalley

PRIMITAI The Craft (Green China Records)

This South East rock band play trad metal with a Celtic edge to the guitar and extreme metal growl to the vocals. Shred and riffs aplenty, a speeded up Iron Maiden feel, and a nod of cement mixer metal in as a bonus.

Definitely one of the best singles I've had through in a long time. ***½

Review by Joe Geesin


Formed in LA in 2005, and named after the leathal blow from Kill Bill Vol.2, 5FDP, or FFDP are a harder and heavier Nickelback.

Taken from the band's second album War Is The Answer produced by Kevin Churko (Ozzy Osbourne's Black Rain), Hard to See is heavily influenced by the likes of Metallica. Bludgeoning melodic metal with monster anthemic vocals, but at the same time infuriatingly tuneful.

But the surprise package here is the B-side a cover of the classic Bad Company track. It's easy to come unstuck, trying to cover Paul Rodger's & co. But 5FDP pull it off with aplomb. Ivan Moody's vocals do the track more than justice, and the song is given a contemporary and modern feel. It's an excellent version that brings a classic properly up to date. ***1/2

Review by Pete Whalley

BELLADONNA Till Death Do Us Part

There's very little that isn't truly global these days. And rock is becoming increasingly so. Belladonna are an Italian band formed in Rome, Italy 2005. But to listen to them, your first guess would be most likely American.

Spawning their own brand of rock; rock noir (something technical to do with minor keys, arpeggios and theatrical storytelling), the band developed a huge Myspace following culminating in Grammy nominations and support spots for the likes of Loaded (Guns n Roses / Velvet Revolver Duff McKagan's side project).

Till Death Do Us Part is taken off the band's 2nd album The Noir Album released March 2009. And it's easy to see the attraction - heavily distorted guitar work, a hypnotic beat, edgy post punk female vocals, a tubular bells piano line, and Gregorian chanting. What more could you want?

While none of the parts might be original, the combination almost certainly is. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

SHABBY ROGUE My Life As A Secret Agent

Interesting name. Interesting title. Built around a vaguely 007-ish riff written by guitarist Johnny Famous (any relation to Johnny English?) My Life As A Secret Agent is a three minute blast of B-52's style new wave pop rock.

Perhaps out of character from the band's normal early Dylan style and taken from their second album - By Hook And By Crook - set for release in 2010, the track has a wonderfully raw, almost punk (Shabby Pogues?) feel. While it might not make the band famous, it's undeniable fun and strangely addictive. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

ALLEGRO City Lights

I'm not sure Allegro is a wise choice for a band name. It brings the legendary British Leyland family saloon to mind. Which is, with hindsight, much derided as a piece of automotive history. But of course in musical terms it means quick, lively, or cheerful.

Which is was you get from these cheeky cockney 'diamond geezers'. City Lights is a big slice of suitably chaotic modern pop / rock. Perfect for a knees up down the boozer. Modern day Small Faces, if you like.

And what's the lead singer's name? Yes, you guessed it - Austin! Cor Blimey Gov'nor, I nearly wet me strides. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

DR SLAGGLEBERRY The Slagg Factory (Crash Records)

This instrumental mini album is meant (so it says) to blend math metal (wtf?) with progressive rock (only just) and jazzcore (omg!). Three masked men who come over like an extreme metal band trying to experiment with vindaloo, music and sandcastles all at once. Think King Crimson in death metal mode.

It's different, it's interesting, and at times technically adept. But equally it's noisy, different, at times jangly, and if you're not in the right mood it's very annoying. ***

Review by Joe Geesin


Glasgow based four piece Le Reno Amps mix deep fried Scottish Indie with Pogue-ish hell-raising folk country. A Scottish version of The Coral, if you will. And here at GRTR! we found the band's Tear It Up album (from which The Stand Off is taken) to be as compelling as deep-fried Mars Bars.

One of the highlights from the album, The Stand Off  boasts three new recordings - Golden Futures - a Johnny Cash tribute, and Liars -a gentle folky number full of vocal harmonies. The closing track is a cover of Beck's Rowboat, which in turn was covered by Johnny Cash. So very much a case of what goes around comes around.

And as usual, completely bonkers. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

YOU ME AT SIX Kiss And Tell

Having missed out (twice) to Bullet For My Valentine as Best British Band at the 2008 and 2009 Kerrang Awards, You Me At Six must be wondering just what they have to do.

And they've decided that re-releasing their 2008 Take Off Your Colours debut album with a second disc of five new songs - including Kiss And Tell - is the way to go.

And they could be right. Kiss And Tell is a big indie pop number with a great beat, full of catchy hooks and is perfect radio material. The only problem with the tactic is that it could alienate fans who already own the album. Otherwise, onwards and upwards. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

HEY NEGRITA One Mississippi

Inspired by the reception to a series of acoustic BBC sessions, transatlantic country blues exponents Hey Negrita took time out from their 2008 tour to cut as many tracks as they could within 5 hours without any overdubs or edits.

The result, their forthcoming Burn The Whole Place Down album. And this lead single One Mississippi. The single contains both the original, and the acoustic version - stripped of electric guitars. And having heard neither before - or for that matter Hey Negrita - I'm pleased to report that that both are excellent, and the band a modern day CS&N. But of the two versions it's the unplugged that has the most vibrancy. Nice. ***

Ereview by Pete Whalley


atest Scottish indie hopefuls The Echo Session serve up a folky bluegrass take on the credit crunch.

The question is Tell Me where the money's at? A melodic sideswipe at fat cats, greedy bankers, and expenses fiddling MPs. No arguing it's topical. And it's indie of the acoustic brand associated with the likes of The Coral. But it could equally be a Kinks or Beatles ditty. Which is no bad thing.

Whether there's more to The Echo Session, only time will tell. It's hard to tell from just one track. But Tell Me is as good a starting point as any. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

KIZZY STAR The Last Time

More Scottish rock. This time from Kizzy Star who recently supported Sharleen Spiteri on her solo tour.

And Texas are probably a pretty good reference point. Latter day Texas, that is, when the big pomp pop songs had all but had but diluted the band's original blues rock beginnings.

The Last Time is typical of the genre - melodic, big hooks and anthemic vocals from front man Tony McGovern. It's easy to see how this would translate well to an arena.

The question is whether Kizzy Star can elevate themselves to headliners. And that's a tricky one, because many of the founders of this genre are hanging on by the fingertips to their former glories. But it does at least suggest there's going to be plenty of support act opportunities. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

CAPTAIN DANGEROUS I Miss You Cos It's Monday

You get the idea from the name that this may not be an entirely serious piece of work. But perhaps that's disingenuous. Captain Dangerous - a four piece rock art outfit from Nottingham - serve up 'off kilter pop'.

But I Miss You Cos It's Monday sounds to me like a Christmas sing-a-long in the back room of the local pub. About 3 hours after the lock-in began.

It's a bluesy, boozy, slurry affair. And hard to tell whether it's good or bad. The B-sides Shoot Deserters and Terry Steele do however show that the band have a more serious - and tuneful - folk rooted troubadour side. **½

Review by Pete Whalley

GUNNER SGT Why Are We Turning Back (single)

This is a lot less rock 'n' roll than I remember from previous releases. The 3 piece play a stripped down rough and chunky alternative rock, with grunge influences. All three tracks are pretty similar, slightly sleazy, but it's the alternative grunge in the main.

Would have been huge in 1991, young fans still might go for it. I personally found it a little samey and dull. **½

Review by Joe Geesin

NOTANUMBER The Great Storm Upon Us EP

When the press release says metalcore, I brace myself for noise. The Great Scream Upon Us! Get Ready To Sound Like A Werewolf In A Lot Of Pain.

This four track EP from this Italian band kicks off fast and furious with 'Road To Enlightenment', some intricate and excellent guitar work, but is almost grunge like in the mix of coherent and screamed vocals and the odd light patch.

The title track kicks off with guitars like a brace of machine guns in each ear, the roar sounding like a black hole tearing space/time apart right before you.

If they got rid of the screams/growls and the grunge-like pace changes there'd be hope. Some good extreme metal but it's too intense, too loud, and at times a little too messy. And before you say anything, I'm not too old, granddad. **½

Review by Joe Geesin

THE LIGHTS January Blues

I've been pretty impressed with the previous output of Birmingham based 5-piece, The Lights.

But January Blues misses the mark. It's pleasant enough retro pop ditty produced by Gavin Monoghan (Travis, Editors, Kings Of Leon) and features the band's trademark boy/girl harmony vocals. But it lacks the big hook that lifted previous singles The Score and Low Hundreds out of the ordinary.

But all is not lost. The B-side Start Again is a gentle folky, bluesy ballad, with some excellent lead vocals from Liz Sheils. **½

Review by Pete Whalley

AVIV GEFFEN It's Alright

The second single to be lifted from Aviv's eponymous English spoken debut album and produced by 'Tricky' Trevor Horn.

Massive at home in Israel with over 2.5 million sales under his belt, Aviv is looking to break into the lucrative European / American markets. But It's Alright is unlikely to further that aim. It is just what it says on can - 'alright', that is. Nothing more and nothing less. Easy listening, easy on the ear Radio 2 fodder.

Back at home the man sells out 40,000 seaters. This wouldn't sell out the top deck of a London tour bus. **½

Review by Pete Whalley


Electronic pad drums, crunchy guitars, cheesy keyboards, very new wave. As Captain Sensible describes them, 'A Gothed up version of Joy Division', there's Killing Joke and Bauhouse in there too.

'Come on and cut me, come on and watch me bleed'. Quite Simply - NO. **

Review by Joe Geesin


Another single from the new Farm album, and given I wasn't quite enamoured with the previous single (or its presentation) or the style of music in general, we're off to a bad start.

With a hint of 70s (but not quite the guitar epic the sticker tells us), this jangly alternative rock set is a touch melodic, but 'Honey Rich melodies' is not something alternative rock generally offers you.

Soaring and distorted guitar that is soaring straight out of my CD player before it distorts my day any further. **

Review by Joe Geesin

DAN EDELSTYN  Germans In Space

With a full moniker of Dan Edelstyn and The Orchestra Of Cardboard, and with a B-side titled Psycho Town, you begin to fear for Dan's sanity before the needle hits the groove.

The Orchestra Of Cardboard are his backing band - life side cardboard cut-out musicians. And Germans In Space is a pop ditty reminiscent, sort of, of Sparks or The Beta Band - a a sci-fi fantasy where German scientists escape the Holocaust.

Actually Dan is a lot more engaging than you might imagine and no doubt goes down a storm on the fringe stages on the festival circuit. The Aliens, Flipron and Bonzo style madness. **

Review by Pete Whalley

SANCHEZ Nightride

How this lot earned their rave reviews on the press release is beyond me as they are sadly average at best. This is the band’s second EP and ‘eagerly awaited’ if you believe the PR blurb.

Sadly they sound like an also ran from the 80’s hair metal boom with a very average vocalist and no killer songs or riffs. I have tried to find some redeeming features about the music but alas once you hear this CD you would not be rushing back to hear it again. **

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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