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Singles Bar: July 2010


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

GRACE POTTER & THE NOCTURNALS Paris (Ooh La La)

Paris (Ooh La La), the second single to be lifted off Grace Potter & The Nocturnals eponymous UK debut release is a 'no brainer'.

The track rocks like a bitch on heat and makes the most of the Vermont based band's main assets - the lady herself who has a tremendously soulful blues based voice, and the band's ability to play with a loose ass kicking swagger that's raw, organic and reminiscent of the late sixties / early seventies bands era.

It's a raunchy number with some incendiary vocals and massive hook that's both a radio and a crowd pleaser. One of the highlights of the album, and a 'must' for anyone who loves female fronted rock. Surely, a massive hit? *****

Review by Pete Whalley

THUNDERBIRD 13 Zombie Queen
www.myspace.com/thunderbird13music

London-based T13 are touring in August to promote their single and album.  When you have a band member who goes under the name of Prof Skullington and a female bassist who IS the Zombie Queen it carves you out as something slightly different.  But don't be fooled by appearances this is an excellent effort, and repays repeated plays.  Think grunge, a sleazier Alice In Chains perhaps. ****

Review by David Randall

THE REVELLIONS Sigh's

Dublinís The Revellions are the kind of high octane garage band that takes you back to those days of plaid shirts, flared jeans, all night clubs with swirling psychedelic strobe lights and a ubiquitous keyboard sound that forever suggests cool.

And no matter how clichťd this image of the 60ís, itís an era that predicated the collision of garage rock with r&b via psychedelia, producing enough good band such as The Leaves, The Electric Prunes, The Sonics, The 11h Floor Elevators, the Standells the Seeds, The Count Fives etc, to leave a weighty musical heritage.

The UK similarly produced enduring r&b bands and proto garage bands such as the The Downliner Sect, The Creation, The Yardbirds, and The Pretty Things. And The Revellions fit into the bigger picture via the Dirty Water club and label activities of Billy Childish that produced The Mikshakes, The Prisoners and The Heacoates.

In fact The Revellions perfectly straddle the changing garage band genre of the 60ís. There ís the Mod style pill popping drive, the keyboard led psychedelic undertones and the r&b intensity of 2 tracks that suggest a fruitful further investigation of their forthcoming album. ĎSighísí has a cool introductory bass line, before an explosion of amphetamine energy, an edgy vocal intensity and a sweeping vibrant organ rocket launches the song into the stratosphere.

An unexpected colourful ascending trumpet arrangement and pounding drums, are all finally eclipsed by a sudden sparse vocal outro On ĎAinít No Foolí The Doors meet the Pretty Things head on, with a Ray Manzarek organs sound, some waspish buzz guitar and a Phil May style coarse vocal over further effective 60ís call and response work. The vocals cleverly switch from a razor blade vocal to a Jim Morrison scream in the closing lines.

But thereís more than naÔve retro here, with some neat production fills, from the clever use of echo on the guitar, live sounding drums, extended vowels and more insistent call and response lines to fatten out a blazing intensity that evokes Paul Weller. The Revellions do what they do well and given the strength of their songs, they are potentially an interesting band in their own right rather than mere revivalists dusting down an oft forgotten historical lineage.
****

Review by Pete Feenstra

BIFFY CLYRO God & Satan

With a theological title, you sort of expect Biffy to unleash heaven and hell on their latest single.

But no, the Scottish trio have toned it down for the latest track to be lifted from their Only Revolutions album that has seen the band climb from cult to rock premier league status.
Stripped back to the basics - acoustics and strings - Simon Neil and co take a relective look at life and muse on what might await when we cross life's finishing line. Accessible, but retaining all the band's power and grace, even your Gran's going to appreciate this Biffy release. Excellent, and surely chart bound. ****

Review by Pete Whalley

EMAROSA A Toast To The Future Kids!

Set to release their self titled sophomore eponymous debut album, Kentucky band Emarosa do what no one has so far attempted. That is, produce a successful blend of post punk NME indie pop/rock with the more commercial aspects of stadium filling US rock bands like Linkin' Park.

So what you get is catchy melodies, great vocals and a massive staccato angsty chorus line.

And it works a treat. Radio friendly in the extreme and accessible to audiences of all ages A Toast The The Future Kids! has 'massive hit' written all over it without ever sounding derivative. If Emarosa aren't huge I'll eat my Y fronts. ****

Review by Pete Whalley

DARKER MY LOVE Dear Author (Dangerbird Records)

Jim Henderson gave the album 'Alive As You Are' a four star review describing a 'heady mix of trippy West Coast psych and L.A.'s Paisley Underground'.  You can't argue with that.

Have the band been listening to 'Dear Prudence'?  This track evokes White Album-era Beatles as much as those bands in the late sixties who wore square shaped shades and dressed in tunics. ***½

Review by David Randall

MORCHEEBA Even Though (remixes) [PIAS] Recordings

The inevitable remixes of a track already issued as a single back in May.  It sees the return of vocalist Skye after a break of 7 years.  This may be a signal that Paul and Ross Godfrey are seeking a return to former glories. 

It's an attractive tune that is enhanced by Skye but not by the remixes which are a bit cheesy to these ears. Seek out the original version which is a bit like a trip-hop Cardigans (but none the worse for that). ***

Review by David Randall

ABSENT ELK  Let Me Know

Taken from their debut album Caught In The Headlights, and following support slot with Girls Aloud and (perhaps more impressively) The Script, The Hoosiers and Keane this English band with a Norwegian singer deliver a powerful piece of Coldplay style pop / rock.

With shimmering Edge style guitars, Vocals of Bonoesque stature and a rhythm that builds, builds, and builds to an anthemic crescendo, itís hard to see how Let Me know can fail to dent the airwaves. It may break no new ground but itís radio / crowd friendly in the extreme. ***½

Review by Pete Whalley

LITTLE FISH Whiplash

Any group that relies on a male / female line up that consists solely of guitar and drums is just asking to be compared to The White Stripes. Especially while that band remains on 'hold' while Jack White indulges himself in his latest project The Dead Weather.

The clever game plan of Juju Sophie (vocals) and Nez Greenaway (drums) has been to the engage the services of legendary singer/songwriter/producer Linda Perry who has so successfully sprinkled her gold dust on the chart careers of countless artists.

As a result Whiplash is what The White Stripes might have been with a more commercial hand at the helm - raw vocals (think Lene Lovich meets Skin from Skunk Anansie) and radio friendly guitars, drums and melodies. An intensely cathartic onslaught that, with the right radio play, can hardly fail. ***½

Review by Pete Whalley

INDICA In Passing (Nuclear Blast)

'Discovered' by Nightwish boss Tuomas Holopainen and with two Nightwish tours under their belts, you might reasonably expect this five piece girl band to have some Finnish symphonic metal tendencies. Not on the strength of In Passing.

With one platinum and two gold albums, and numerous Finnish top ten singles to their name, the girls have decided to make a play for the international market with their first English speaking record.

Described back at home as 'mystic romantic pop', there's no obvious metal connection to my ears, and if In Passing is indicative of the Indica catalogue, then Eurovision is the most obvious reference point. Nothing wrong with that, and it would probably do pretty well. I rather like them. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

I AM SAM Let It Pump

The PR blurb describes this single from Australian based Londoner as a groove where Jason Mraz meets Jack Johnson mixed up with a little hip hop and some reggae sauce for flavour. Yum (not). Most of those ingredients would be on my food 'hell' list.

But actually, while it is fairly accurate summation of Let It Pump, the track is pleasant enough in an r&b Tony Rich laid back sort of a way. But if you're looking for hits - of a chart or google nature, it's probably not the wisest move in the book to have the moniker of a hit movie title.

Perfect for just about any sunshine state. Which rules out anywhere north of Watford Gap. **½

BEN DALBY Champagne

A bright and breezy pop ditty from the pen of singer songwriter Ben Dalby who, by day - when not composing - is programming traffic control systems.

Having plied his craft for 20 years, Ben's aim is radio friendly tunes that make you want to turn the volume up. And with Champagne, a sub Prefab Sprout number with a lyrical play on the iconic images of Marilyn Monroe and James Dean he's firmly in Radio 2 listener territory.

Easy on the ear in a pleasant sort of a way. But ultimately, not going to set any fields on fire. **

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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