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Singles Bar: June 2006

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

Featured singles

TONY CHRISTIE (Is This The Way To) The World Cup
Gut Records (2006)

Tony Christie reprises his hit 'Amarillo', only this time we have England World Cup lyrics. Sounds cheesy but it does work and you can see it getting chanted by the England fans this summer. There is even a karaoke version! ***

Review by Jason Ritchie

LOW SPARKS Out Here In The Woods

Low Sparks are a London based quartet with a Cumbrian on drums and Out Here In The Woods is their debut 4 track ep release

The lead track - She Was Always Cool - reminds of the Arctics meets the Zutons meets the Coral. It's manic, frantic, relaxed and mental. And it has a wonderful charm.

Cool, is just that - more unusual rhythms and time changes, excellent vocals and some fine playing. In A While has a cool groove while I'm Gonna Shake Your Treehouse Down is a quite beautiful number in a Low Sparks quirky sort of way.

The best debut I've heard in a while. Highly recommended. *****

Review by Pete Whalley

UNDERCUT 'Don't Walk' (2006) Website

Undercut released for me one of the debut albums of 2005 - an album full of guitar led anthems. Hard to pin their sound on an established band really. This is their new single of the new album due later this year. Taking a slightly mellower route than the debut album nonetheless this is top draw guitar led rock with some wonderful melody lines.

If there is any justice in the charts this will be a summer hit. ****½

Review by Jason Ritchie

PLAYERS No Big Deal/Find Your Way (Sanctuary)

From their highly acclaimed album 'From The Six Corners', this double A side single is a perfect music bed for summer sun worship.

Players includes Mick Talbot and Steve White who performed with Paul Weller in Style Council days and vocalist Kelly Dickson who has the soulful holler of a more heavyweight diva.

'No Big Deal' is like a funked up Jools Holland Big Band, 'Find Your Way' is psychedelic soul, riff-driven and actually rather good.

Although I have to admit I was listening to this sort of stuff a decade or more ago, it's unashamedly in the best jazz-funk traditions and, before you ask, there are some funky rock guitar stylings especially evident on the monumental Yam Who instrumental remix of 'Wonderful'. ****

Review by David Randall

HIM Killing Loneliness

If there was ever a sign that the long journey from His Infernal Majesty to mainstream acceptance was nearly over, then surely it was the 'preview' of this single on Top Of The Pops. It's true! I saw it happen. HIM performing on the hallowed TOTP stage where all the greats have gone before them. Jive Bunny, The Tweets, The Cheeky Girls - you name them, they've been there.

Never mind that Fearne Cotton seemed more taken by The Flaming Lips, this is one of the highlights from the excellent "Dark Light" album. It's trademark HIM, managing to be melodic and oppressive at the same time, with an unusual keyboard motif that irritates and captivates equally. All part of the idiosyncratic charm of HIM.

I'm not sure it's commercial enough to return them to the Top 10, but No 19 with a bullet, is guaranteed. ****

Review by Stuart A Hamilton

MANDY KANE Murder In The Daylight

I remember dribbling quite badly over last years download release "(UK) Hanky Panky", a blasting electro-dance classic, that upped the Axl quotient with its reference to 'nigger fags', while remaining a club anthem for disaffected bisexual youth. Of course, this was in another place, far away from M4L, where that sort of malarkey is encouraged. Behind closed doors, natch.

So, what the hell is his new release doing here, in the hallowed uber rock world of GRTR!? Well a) - I don't think you're as hard as you look - ever heard of over compensating, sweaty pit boys? And b) - and this is more important - this time he's dropped a healthy dose of the rock into the mix for "Murder In The Daylight". You know that room in your local club, that you never go into. The one with the off putting smell of patchouli, talcum powder and rubber. And the squeaky noises. Well, this will be their new favourite song.

It's almost worth wandering in there for the rare treat of seeing the floor bouncing along to an anti-war song with a melodic trumpet motif and a kiddywink chorus. Which will be a delight ot behold. And in a fine attempt to capture the entire record buying market, this eepee also contains the punk riffing of "Celebrity Roadkill", the full Nine Inch Nails industrial of "Glitch", the welcome return of "(UK) Hanky Panky" and a couple of remixes. But let's not go there, eh. A top quality release for those with diverse tastes. ****

Review by Stuart A Hamilton

KORN - Coming Undone

I thought that the "See You On The Other Side" was a tremendous return to form for Korn, and an album they absolutely had to make, if they had any future.

They're heading for Download on 10 June and to celebrate / cash-in will be releasing "Coming Undone" as a single on 12 June. It's a fabulous, crunching slab of neo-industrial rock, heavy as a really heavy thing with a memorable hook.

If you've been avoiding the album, give this a listen and see what you've been missing. ****

Review by Stuart A Hamilton

TONI JAMES I'm Here Where Are You? (2006) Website

Toni James has a very soulful voice and you can easily see the hyperbole surrounding her elevating her to Joss Stone like proporttions. Whilst not a big soul fan you can easily enjoy James voice and the easy tunes she has recorded her. Highlight is the gospel tinged 'Fate Street'.

James certainly has the voice (and looks!) to succeed and Radio 2 airplay beckons methinks. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie

THE ANSWER Into The Gutter

The Answer just keep on getting better. "Keep Believin" and "Never Too Late" were good songs, but "Into The Gutter" is their best yet, and a statement of intent for their forthcoming debut album, "Rise", due out later this month, and one of my most anticipated this year.

In case you don't know (and you really should), The Answer take the great blues rock bands of the 70's, a smattering of AC/DC boogie, a tad of eighties sleaze, and mix it up into a magnificent, piledriving slab of the rawk.

This single is out as a download and as a limited edition 7", which has the bluesy, slide guitar infested "Long Cold Winter" sounding "Take It Easy" as the B-side, which means you won't get the bombastic, more metallic "Only The Strong Survive", which the promo CD has.

They've been out on the road with Whitesnake and played Download, so don't miss out! ****

Review by Stuart A Hamilton

AVENGED SEVENFOLD Burn It Down (Warner Bros)

It's the season of the rock fest, and Avenged Sevenfold are right up there with a track from the highly-rated album 'City Of Evil'. If dropped tuning, growling guitars and a rousing chorus is your bag, step on up.

There is a lot of competition around at present in the world of commercial thrash, and Avenged Sevenfold and Bullet For My Valentine look like they're going head-to-head. ****

Review by David Randall

iLiKETRAiNS Terra Nova (Fierce Panda)

With their songs of social comment and stage show incorporating National rail uniforms and projections of trains, snow and chess, iLiKETRAiNS are the latest musical export from Leeds that look set to crack the big time.

Terra Nova explores the doomed 1912 expedition to the South Pole form Captain Cookís perspective, while the B-side - Fram - is about Hjalmar Johansen who was ousted from the Norwegian team that beat Scott to the Antarctic and who committed suicide in 1913.

Sitting musically somewhere between Roger Waters and Coldplay, but with their own distinctive lyrical content and gloomy delivery this is powerful stuff. While not obvious chart material iLiKETRAiNS look set to spearhead a new generation of cerebral rock. ****

Review by Pete Whalley


'On The Radio' is the second single to be lifted from The Concretes 'In Colour' album. It opens with a jaunty piano, Cardigan-esque vocals and descends into almost Corrs pop/rock.

Perfect summer pop and could well break into the charts with the right air-play. On the CD version you also get two unreleased tracks - The First Time and End Of The Mandolins and the video of the single.

And it's all packaged in another fine digi pack that complements the artwork of the album and previous single Chosen One. ****

Review by Pete Whalley

THE DYKEENIES New Ideas / It Will Happen (King Tutís Records)

Formed in 2005, The Dykeenies are an art-pop five piece from Glasgow and this is their debut release. Itís also the first release on the King Tut label run by the team behind Glasgowís legendary venue King Tutís Wah Wah Hut. Itís aim is to help identify, launch and break new bands that nave the potential to become household names.

Through word of mouth and the power of the internet The Dykeenies have built up a considerable local fanbase north of the border with their killer tunes and snappy choruses. Pop rock rarely sounds this good and The Cribs, The Futureheads and Bloc Party had better watch their backs - The Dykeenies are coming! ***½

Review by Pete Whalley

BETH ORTON Shopping Trolley (EMI)

Beth Orton's new single - a double A side featuring Shopping Trolley and Comfort Of Strangers (taken from the album of the same name) are is released as a prelude to her September UK tour of prestigious venues such as Manchester's Bridgewater Hall and Birmingham's Symphony Hall.

Shopping Trolley is one of Beth's more melodic numbers and is a typical West Coast singer-songwriter number. With an up-tempo beat and Beth' quirky vocals this should keep fans happy. But do yourself a favour, buy the album instead. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

RADIO 4 Enemies Like This (EMI)

New single from Radio 4 (should this be highbrow?), with a heavy mix on the bass and touches of new wave punk.

Imagine an uptempo U2 mixed with heavy metal. Interesting combination. ***

Review by Joe Geesin


Shouting at Strangers is not something I can claim to be in favour of. In fact, shouting in general should be discouraged unless there are exceptional circumstances. 'Fire!', 'Herd of stampeding elephants!', 'Anvil!'. That kind of thing.

And Shouting At Strangers don't actually do that much shouting. Sure, they're loud, but only in the way an elderly uncle with hearing difficulties might be. They do the whole modern metal thing very well, with hints of Helmet and The Pixies thrown in to keep the students happy.

They've got the scratchy guitars, off kilter rhythms and post punk riffs the kids seem to go for these days in lieu of real metal, with "Agent Orange" the standout track thanks to its 50% more toughness. Interesting. ***

Review by Stuart A Hamilton


It's weird. I've gotten so used to the word punk being attributed to American boy bands that I'd forgotten I used to live a few doors down from Wattie out of the Exploited. Which goes to show the power of language, as well as highlighting my antiquity.

Not that Selladore are a punk band. Not really, anyway. Yes, they have huge wodges of punk influences but have allied that to a hardcore feel and some brutal metallic riffing. Which, on their best track "Slave", is a mightily impressive thing.

A shame then that they do the whole quiet-loud-quiet thing elsewhere, which ruins a great riff on "Not Forever". Stick to the fury, boys, and you'll do just fine. ***

Review by Stuart A Hamilton

EVIL BEAVER Models Of Virtue EP

Beavers generally get a good press. Show an environmentalist a picture of a beaver and they'll probably stop hugging trees long enough to make approving noises. Odd, considering the destructive nature of said beaver. Maybe now we know that they sound like Bob Hoskins when they speak, the truth will out. After all, not for nothing is the second part of environmentalist spelt mentalist.

Anyway, this particular Evil Beaver are a bass and drum duo comprising bassist & vocalist Evie Evil (probably not her real name) and drummer gene Trautmann (probably is his real name). Those of you paying attention will probably recognise the latter from his multi-year stint with lateblooming American boyband, the Queens Of The Stone Age.

Evil Beaver come across as a more shambolic, pyschedelic tinged L7, which seems like it should be a very bad thing, but is actually quite endearing. We'll quickly pass over the electro-rock cover of "I Wanna Be Your Dog" which goes to show, yet again, that the Stooges were shite. Take enough drugs and live, you become an icon. Instead I'll carry on thinking good thoughts about the likes of "Believin' Deceivin'", which comes across like a Mudhoney / Altered Images hybrid and, as such, demands your admiration. ***

Review by Stuart A Hamilton

LORDI Hard Rock Hallelujah

Frankly , who cares what the song is like - you all owe it to Lordi to rush and buy this, just to thank them for somehow winning Eurovision. OK, it's a cross between GWAR and Alice Cooper (listen to the chorus carefully, then sing the words to "Poison"), but for the demon's wings that came out Mr Lordis back, as fireworks shot out of his axe and the bands guitars during their Eurovision performance, it's worth raising a hell, yeah!

Now, here's hoping every 9 year old in Europe realises the power of the rawk! and secretly plans to take over the world ten years hence, with a wave of Kiss stage shows, eighties guitar solos and chants of "The walls come down like thunder, The rocks about to roll, It's the Arockalypse, Now bare your soul".

The album version (on here) is better as it has a longer guitar part but they ruin things by having a bonus track called "Mr Killjoy", which would have been rejected as a Green Jelly B-side. But for the time being "Rock 'n' Roll angels bring thine hard rock hallelujah". ***

Review by Stuart A Hamilton


The sun is shining, Nickelback are touring with Bon Jovi, so it must be time for another eighties power ballad. And I would be lying if I said that this was going to win new converts over to the Nickelback cause. It won't but the millions who buy their records will lap it up.

Chad PoFace carries on in po face style, emoting furiously through another angstful performance, the swell arrives exactly in queue, just in time for the restrained guitar solo. It's by numbers, but they do it very well.

For your bucks you also get a couple of live track - "Animals" and "Follow You Home", both from their latest "Follow You Home" CD, which generate considerably more excitement. I am a fan, and am ticked off that their Scottish show was on the same day as Monsters Of Rock, as their Glasgow Barrowlands gig a few years back was outstanding. But "Savin' Me" isn't the best track on the album, and unless a whole pile of Bon Jovi fans rush out and buy it, won't trouble the charts too much.

For your bucks you also get the video to "Savin' Me", which highlights how every moment of your life counts. Especially if you're a millionaire rock star! ***

Review by Stuart A Hamilton

SENNAH Sennah EP SEN01 Website

New female fronted hard rock band, with a rhythmic sound that is not too dissimilar to RATM, Incubus or Linkin Park. Gorgeous lead singer too.

Occasional guitar outbursts reminiscent of mid 80s Iron Maiden.

The band all look quite young, and this music should appeal to early 20s metal fans. Brutal and enjoyable. Hard to believe they're unsigned. ***

Review by Joe Geesin


Kneel is the debut single from The Silent Type - a five piece based in Richmond Virginia. Itís taken from their debut album Drowned in Sound released in 2005.

It starts with ambient meanderings before swelling into a gently sweeping indie folk/rock number lasting seven and a half minutes. With an unusual line up of Nathan Altice (vocals, guitar), Amber Blankenship (vocals, violin, piano), Billy Mutter (bass), Evan Setzer (cello) and Jared Laine (drums) this should appeal to Sigur Ros and Mowai fans and anyone who likes their music ambient and quirky.

The B-side Stones, Knives and Curses is a brand new song and which, for me trumps Kneel - it has a slightly more commercial rock melody and gorgeous vocals from Nathan and Amber. ***

Review by Pete Whalley


East London based sextet The Fallout Trust return with a new single and live favourite When We Are Gone to coincide with a 12-date UK tour.

The number was recorded in the band's studios - a Dalston Warehouse converted in the image of Berlin's famous Hansa studios.

Originally released 12 months ago it's an excellent rock number - Arcade Fire meets Super Furries - with some tremendous guitar work and atmospherics. ***½

Review by Pete Whalley


Wakefield based three-piece The Research release their 5th single close on the heels of their acclaimed debut album Breaking Up. To be fair, the album didn't win over this reviewer, but then it's a long way from classic rock - more 'indie pop' - upbeat melodies that sound like they're pouring from a wonky old keyboard that is being given a good old knees up after a few beers. A fresh twist to that classic eighties Human League / Soft Cell era.

The Hard Times is produced by James Ford and preludes their forthcoming UK tour. It's upbeat and it's mad. A bit like an under-produced Sparks. Fans will love it, but for those of us who prefer a band with guitars, I just don't get it. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

LOWDRIVE Something New

Hailing from Coventry, three piece Lowdrive move effortlessly from rock to chill. At least that's what their PR says.

Drawing inspiration from Coldplay (is that wise, aren't they everybody's whipping boys of choice?) and Feeder, Something New does indeed have a strong pop-rock sound. But the production is somewhat 'thin' which does them no favours and I suspect they could well be an entirely more powerful live prospect.

It's a pleasant enough listening experience, spoiled only by the production. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

SEE RED Scar Across Your Soul EP (Sinister Chimp Records) Website

5 track EP from See Red, kicks off with 'Severed' which features some Sabbath like riffing but more punk like vocals. 'Twist The Myth' is more stoner,

Heavy as anything, and 'Scars Across Your Soul' features some great guitar work, and the vocals suit the music more. ***

Review by Joe Geesin

DIRTY MAC Promo CD Chromium Records

New Chromium Records signing Dirtymac soon release a second single, and this promo highlights some of their materiel,

Opener 'The Pacifist' mixes acoustic with funk metal, and there's an alternative edge to 'King Greed' and 'The Box'. Pretty heavy, tight, should go far if you have a penchant for post modern metal. ***

Review by Joe Geesin

THREE OLD MEN Short Drive Home

A CDR with no more than a tracklisting on plain white paper, I know nothing about this set up, so on with the music.

Opener 'Dreams In The Summertime' opens with acoustic guitars, gentle vocals, some harmonies, and drums kick in about half way through. Reminiscent of acoustic Extreme but not in the same league. 'Don't Ya Wanna Come Home' is more electric, funkier and occasional horns and keyboards. Good in places, disjointed in others.

'Rush Hour Madness' has a more lounge feel, slightly jazzy. 'Trouble' is more the rocker, with some boogie and a touch of slide guitar.

Two demo tracks best avoided, and two more mixed bag tracks. One half decent track and seven others that can't decide where they want to go.

Review by Joe Geesin

CRAZY FROG We Are The Champions Gut Records (2006)

One word question for the surviving members of Queen - 'Why?' This is truly an abomination and with four versions of the Queen classic massacred by that green twat it is too much even for my open minded tastes. Don't buy this PLEASE! ***** for the original song NIL for that green slimy f**ker.

Review by Jason Ritchie

***** 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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