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Quick Play: A round-up of August 2010 album releases

We've listed albums in order of star rating. Best first.

AL LEWIS In The Wake

Al Lewis is a Welsh singer/songwriter, who name checks Fleetwood Mac, John Martyn and Fleet Foxes amongst his many musical influences. He has released a few EP's and a Welsh language album to date.

He's joined on vocals on a few songs by Sarah Howells and their vocals both complement the music and each other very well. Musically the album mixes folk and pop rocks to great effect.

Highlight has to be 'Tangents' where the musical backdrop along with Sarah Howells vocals makes for a stunning piece of music. Elsewhere 'The Arsonist' and 'One Way Love Affair' make the listener sit up and take notice.

A wonderful gem of an album and it comes highly recommended. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie


Think of early Radiohead, Oasis and Nirvana having a good old mosh and from the sweat of those haunting guitars, bottomless bass lines and high angst drives thrashing comes the grunge, sorrow driven, crunchy, ferocious Violent Soho.

Waking up and disturbing the Welsh Valleys, V.S were sent to produce their self titled with none other than Gil Norton (Jimmy Eat World, The Distillers) harnessing their brilliantly super-tight hardcore into violent numbers such as ‘My Girlfriend’ and ‘Son Of Sam’ which compliments their Black Flag styled live performances.

Recent single ‘Jesus Stole My Girlfriend’ expresses Violent Soho’s blaspheme views through the perfectly sarcastic yet gritty vocals, not to mention the captivating guitar melodies and rhythmic bass lines.

Hooks clearly inspired by Matt Bellamy, upbeat yet heavier than ever ‘Muscle Junkie’ delivers the grunge that died out years ago. From Nirvana and Soundgarden’s rebirth, Violent Soho delivers one of the finest, hardest and heaviest indie albums out there with pure perfection. ****

Review by Georgia Rawson

COLD RIVER LADY Better Late Than Never Angel Air

Discovered by Pete Brown (who wrote the lyrics for Cream's 'Sunshine Of Your Love', 'White Room' and more) in the spring of 1971 and over the next few years he worked with the band until they split in 1976.

He then persuaded them to reform in 1991 and this album was the result released back in 1992. Musically it is very pleasant pop meets rock and vocalist Helen Hardy has a soothing voice perfect for the music. In fact songs like 'The Promise' and 'Hereford Girls' reminded me of Mostly Autumn. Not essential by any means but worthy of further investigation. ***½

Review by Jason Ritchie

SEVEN THE HARD WAY (Mascot Records )

A 'supergroup' featuring guitar whizz Tony Macalpine, drummer Virgil Donati (Planet X/Soul SirkUS) and Mark Boals (Royal Hunt) on vocals.

Since recording the album the band have added a bass player and second guitarist. Given the names you maybe expecting perhaps a power or melodic metal feast?

Well try Alice In Chains instead as songs like 'Liar' and the atmospheric 'Solitary Man' sound like that aforementioned band.

Needless to say Tony Macalpine is on top of his game with some ear bending solos and plenty of heavy riffing. It does need a few spins as the end of the album does tail off quality wise. Keep an eye on this band as live they should be stunning and hopefully this band is in it for the long haul. ***½

Review by Jason Ritchie

LOREWEAVER Imperviae Auditiones

Some impressive prog metal, which opens in neo classical style, and the opening track gives us plenty of solid guitar, keyboards and high vocals. And of the 8 tracks, only one is under 6:30, and one over8 minutes, it would be easy to say it's a cross between Iron Maiden and ELP, but it's deeper than that and pretty good too.

The female vocals are deeper than most, but have good range, and the chopping rhythms make for interesting listening. Some good piano work too.

In places similar to Transatlantic but a fair bit heavier.

The hardest thing I found to digest was the press release; dark blue on black is not easy to read.

Well worth checking out. ***½

Review by Joe Geesin

ORPHAN BOY Passion, Pain and Loyalty

Orphan Boy's recent LP, Passion, Pain and Loyalty posses an epic power from the bombardment'Annie Wrote Me A Letter' through to the temperamental'A180 Song'.

Opening track 'Annie Wrote Me A Letter' is an infectious catchy tune that makes it look as if every other UK band is being personally impregnated by U2. The angelic hook lines pull too tightly in the direction of 'Joshua Tree' (U2) . However the dramatic build up to into a mass emphasis chorus sparks off a pleasurable reaction and becomes easy on the ears.

But it's not until second track'Pop Song' that it is made obvious as to how Orphan Boy managed to blag a slot at the likes of Glastonbury. Smooth vocals, pounding drums, and mellow lyrics' just like they do in British films' creates an early New Order (of whom they have shared Factory Records with) essence similarly found in hits such as 'Celebration' just with a more remastered production/ studio sound.

A staged drum fill opening of track 'Some Frontier‘ gives way into gang vocals, which to be honest sounds as if Orphan Boy are putting in more effort than necessary generating an over-produced resonance.

Catchy piano melody and backing of '1989' finally shows a more pessimistic side of Orphan Boy (a cliché with their depressing lyrical meanings and band name) but with lyrics 'England Sleeping' this track becomes more suited for a television commercial about the world cup than it does a festival, the piano and drums become the only part in time with each other when the bridge kicks in.

Before long your ears begin to crave those big choruses, down beats, melodies, hooks and gripping vocals any real song has in it's presence. ***

Review by Georgia Rawson


Opening with some ambient sounds and a military drum, the sound builds into a solid 70s prog rock.

Opener 'The World Is Mine' starts the album typically, mixing late 70s Rush with eary 70s Genesis. Think a combination of Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin in 9 glorious minutes. 'Draw The Line' is a little heavier, almost harsh by comparison, but the keyboard sounds nod to Yes and Asia.

Even in later acoustic moments the music is a modern take on 70s prog. Solid virtuoso prog.

The folkier moments don't work so well, at times the direction does seem to drift, but things to pick back up.

Inconsistently excellent. ***

Review by Joe Geesin

MARCO MENDOZA Casa Mendoza (Mascot Records)

Bassist Marco Mendoza (Thin Lizzy/Whitesnake) returns with a new solo album. His first, the enjoyable funk/rock flavoured 'Live It Up' was released back in 2007 on Frontiers. This album sees Mendoza explore his funk/jazz rock roots even more and he is joined by notable musicians in this genre - keyboards player Steve Weingart, drummer Joey Heredia and guitarist Rafael Moreira (who was in TV's 'Rock Band' house band).

There are some serious musical jams on here including a mammoth reworking of the Stevie Wonder classic 'Living For The City'. There are some strange vocals at times on this one!

Two other covers get a makeover as well, 'Suzy Q' and Carole King's 'You Got A Friend', the latter is the album stand out for me. The most straight ahead rocker is 'Trouble', otherwise it is a jazz/funk musical showcase.

If you enjoyed Marco Mendoza's first album like I did approach this with caution, as although that first solo album had funk rock influences this new album is one for lovers of jazz/funk workouts. But whatever your personal musical taste you'll still be amazed at the high quality musicianship on display here. ***

Review by Jason Ritchie

SHOT Shot (Rain Of The Rock Records) /

Some trad modern metal from the USA, and a suitable band name for this debut mini album. Sadly typically for this PR we get it to review 6 months after release, but it's definitely well worth a listen. Solid, screaming, melodic yet fast and furious.

I hint of punk, but it's East Coast metal in fine form. Chunky and plenty of guitars. ***

Review by Joe Geesin

AVON CALLING 2 (Bristol Archive Records / Shellshock)

More gems from the west country's punk scene 1979 and 1980. 20 previously unreleased punk tracks from the vaults of Bristol's Heartbeat Records, mostly highly enjoyable, some unreleased for good reason.

Social Security sounded like a tinny Sex Pistols, but a good tune, while the European's sound owed a little to The Who. X-Certs is as more jangly punky new wave than pure punk. Some good rhythms and guitar work there.

Essential Bop feature some interesting rhythms, maybe a bit too clever for the scene.

A good spread of styles within the punk remit, and all with authentic 1979 sound.

If you like British punk you'll like this, and one for collectors too. ***

Review by Joe Geesin


A very upfront, no frills retro rock album from Sweden.

The opening track is mid paced, heavy, solid and melodic, the second track 'Path Of Destruction' a little more uptempo. Imagine a thrash track wound back and slowed down to a mid tempo trad metal song.

'Caught In A Cobweb' is a little alternative and jangly, and 'I Believed In You' is an acoustic number.

There is some very good work here, some moments do stand out, but overall the sound and feel of the album a little samey with not enough of anything to really grab you.  **½

Review by Joe Geesin

THE JIM JONES REVUE Burning Your House Down

Crash Bank Wallop what the hell is this racket?

Yes it's a racket, but on closer investigation it's beefed up rock'n'roll with nods of rockabilly and punk. High paced guitar riffs, Little Richard styled piano, screamed vocals.

To add to the proto rock'n'roll and punk feels, it's quite tinny and distorts easily, a strong touch of that 'Recorded down a telephone line' effect. The solos and some of the rhythms try to fall over themselves, probably intentionally to add to the effect.

It's hard to describe the appeal, but I can definitely see it. Some skill and a lot of effort, but I'm not totally sure of the target. A marmite moment (ie you either love it or hate it). **½

Review by Joe Geesin

SHELLCASE Dead Memories

The press release reads 'Modern hi-energy radio-ready post-grunge rock'. Says it all, really. Moments of grunge and alternative. Some atmospheric keyboards hidden under jangly guitars. The more melodic parts as tuneful (and uplifting) as second rate 80s goth rock.

Some tracks alternate acoustic with crash-bang-wallop. That's not grunge, that's just rubbish.

I highly recommend you listen and make your own mind up, because my mind shut down after 4-5 songs. **

Review by Joe Geesin

LAZY CHAOS Moral Calculus /

Modern mid American trad rock band with heavy nods to alt and grunge. And hip-hop and a hint of rap of industrial.

When it's trad rock it's good, some good metal rhythms and solos but there is too much of everything else.

The mix, the crossover, whatever you want to call it, it doesn't work. Noisy guitars do not always maketh metal.

Pick a direction and go with it, you're good enough, but this reviewer finds too much crossover gives indigestion. And it's not nice.

Review by Joe Geesin


A Belgian band who supposedly cover many musical styles but this is one dire album, sorry guys. The title track is the best of the bunch but the main problem is the band they to cover so many musical styles from folk through to pop, rock, bit of jazz and prog. Some may like it and pop over to for a try.

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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