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Singles Bar: September 2010

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

Reviews by Joe Geesin, Abigail Suter, Pete Whalley


With its strutting bass line reminiscent of The Cars, Gary Numan-esque synths and Scissor Sisters style vocals Body Of Work could sound overly retro and derivative. But remarkably it sounds incredibly fresh, vital and unique - no easy feat and a signal of intent from this Vancouver band who have found praise from a church as broad as the BBC, the mainstream music press, and NME. And now GRTR!

Surely a household name by the end of 2010. *****

Review by Pete Whalley

Power Play


Normally, I'd give rap / hip-hop a very wide birth but Clement Marfo & The Frontline - a band creating quite a stir on the underground scene - are a very different bucket of whelks.

Building on the Roachford rock / blues / soul crossover sound, Clemet Marfo adds a massive Wham sized pop chorus and rap / hip-hop to the mix on this single and the b-side, Shock & Awe.

Both have the same sort of immediate impact as when Run DMC teamed up with Aerosmith and are likely to appeal to such a wide marketplace that Champion is surely a guaranteed knock out hit. *****

Review by Pete Whalley

SEASONS AFTER Cry Little Sister

When the almost spooky guitar intro came in on this track I have to admit I was expecting either some sort of slow-paced Nickelback style song or something that reminds you of Evanescnece. Boy, was I wrong.

Yes, the sound has elements of this somewhere among the big, fat pile of genres it seems to mix together but I'd say the closest match to this track would be something like Three Days Grace. However, Seasons After seem to create their own sound and this means it blows away people with all sorts of music tastes. My iTunes labels it as 'rock' yet to me, it's much more.

My verdict is that this is a must-have single for most rock fans out there so you should definitely give it a whirl.  ****½

Review by Abigail Suter


I'm impressed. Totally. Jets To Zurich formed just a year ago and they are already signed to a record label and are scheduled to release their first single, 'Crimson Tide' on the 9th of October which, to me, is pretty damn amazing. That is before I even pressed play. If I didn't know better I would say 'Crimson Tide' was by a more well-established band such as Jet. The fast-paced track reflects their fast-paced road to success and for a band with just three members, they make one hell of a noise.

I would expect big things from the three-piece from Aberdare in the coming months. Another two singles are expected to be released and I have to say, personally, I will be buying them. If general logic is anything to go by, bands always seem to get better as time passes and if these get any better, they will be deserving of 5*'s for their debut album.

This is about as good as indie rock gets folks, so get out there and buy it!  ****

Review by Abigail Suter

FILTER Fades Like A Photograph (Dead Angel)

Being their fifth studio album, you'd expect big things from Filter and that's exactly what you get from this track. Frontman Richard Patrick is finally back where he belongs to the delight of many die-hard Filter fans.

While the lyrics describe some sort of loss maybe linked to a relationship, the actual song tells a totally different story with a cheerful, calming feeling to it. The opening verse is especially relaxing which is then contrasted by a slightly more powerful chorus with husky vocals.

Admittedly, this single has no energy but it is powerful in it's own emotional way and will not disappoint because Filter definitely still are one of the best industrial rock bands around today.  ****

Review by Abigail Suter

THE MILK All I Wanted Was Danger

Jumping on the retro 60's milk wagon can be a risky move, but unsigned act The Milk from Southend manage it with aplomb with a sound that nods it's hat to the classics of Motown, Stax and Trojan.

All I Want Is Danger has echoes of both Shirley Bassey and Tom Jones brought bang up to date with a delivery that is both infectious and foot tapping. These boys won't be unsigned for long. ****

Review by Pete Whalley


With a support slot with Joan Armatrading not long under her belt, Harriet is the latest single to be released from Lisbee's Stainton's excellent Girl on An Unmade Bed album.

Written for and about a persistent friend at university, Harreit sits at the Kate Nash end of this promising British talent's songwriting spectrum. It's radio friendly and almost guaranteed airplay. And with a forthcoming UK headlining tour, the future looks bright for this very talented singer songwriter. ****

Review by Pete Whalley

SOPHIE HUNGER Your Personal Religion

The debut UK single from Scandanavian singer songwriter, born Émilie Jeanne-Sophie Welti Hunger in Bern, Switzerland, in March 1983.

Taken from her very excellent album 1983, Your Personal Religion is a grungy piece of acoustic folk rock on which she takes a critical look at those who claim to have their own personal religion. It's a real grower.

Difficut to pidgeon hole, the album is a compelling listen and well worth checking out. ****

Review by Pete Whalley


Singer songwriter and former guitarist with nineties bands Kinky Machine and Rialto, Louis Eliot returns flanked by his new band, The Embers, with the acoustic / fiddle propelled lead single from his forthcoming album Kittow's Moor.

With vocals with the rasp of Rod Stewart, big hooks and vague echoes of Dexy's it's a combination pop / folk song that has a real feel good factor, that spills over into the accordion and fiddle laced sea shanty B-side I Saw Her At The Fair.

With a support slot on Thea Gilmore's forthcoming Murphy's Heart tour, the future looks bright for Louis Eliot. ****

Review by Pete Whalley

DARK SYNERGY You Are The Killer EP

Aussie twosome Col Brown (guitar / song writer / producer) and Nellie Mokbel (vocals) teamed up in April 2007 when Col was auditioning for a vocalist.

Influenced by 'classic rock' guitarists such as Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Gilmore, Iommi and Clapton, Col had already got three albums worth of original material produced in demo form, and the duo took their name Dark Synergy from one of his 2006 songs.

The band (supplemented by Simone White and Stuart J Spaans on drums and bass) describe their sound as 'cyber goth' a blend of goth and sci-fi rock and metal. Still unsigned the 3 track You Are A Killer EP gives a taster of what they have to offer.

And it's pretty fine the title track is a moody slow grooved melodic acoustic based piece with some molten fretwork and sultry vocals, No Illusions mixes some staccato off beat metal riffs with half spoken vocals, and Altered State is another dark acoustic based piece with plenty of wah wah infused bluesey guitar work. Nothing groundbreaking, but perfectly listenable. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

PHOENIX 23 Outside My Window EP

Not an official release, but a three track taster for the Northern Ireland band's debut album which has been produced by Supertramp guitarist Carl Verheyen.

With a sound reminiscent of Del Amitri's modus operandi, it's a soft rock singer songwriter extravaganza. And with a remarkably mature and easy on the ear sound, Phoenix 23 are almost guaranteed to strike a chord with The Radio 2 audience. ***½

Review by Pete Whalley

TRANSMIT NOW Let's Go Out Tonight

They might not have been on the scene long but Transmit Now have something about them that resonates more than just another pop-rock band. Their latest single from debut album ‘Let's Go Out Tonight' pushes all the right buttons combining all the necessary ingredients of a rock song.

The track sounds similar to the likes of Jimmy Eat World and Kids In Glass Houses and, even though it is a bit safe and predictable, for a young band that was only formed two years ago it's still pretty good. It starts out with a catchy guitar rhythm which soon gives way to some stereotypical pop-rock vocals but then quickly switches to a catchy chorus which makes up for the average sounding verse.

So, the big question; should I buy it? To all the pop-rock fans out there, yes you should. If you're a fan of anything heavier though I wouldn't really say this single is for you.   ***½

Review by Abigail Suter

Power Play


The release of this 5 track debut ep by twenty three year old Scottish troubadour Aaron Wright will round off a summer of major festival appearances (Glastonbury, T in the Park, Latitude) in just dandy fashion.

Combining the pop elements of the likes of the Beach Boys but with the lyrical acidity of Billy Bragg, it's the sort of insane mix that could only come from a nation with a liking for deep fried confectionery. To be fair, Aaron is actually Canadian by birth, but his accent leaves no doubt of his real roots.

Ably abetted by a mini orchestra of players including Teenage Fanclub's Norman Blake (bass / vocals) and Belle & Sebastian's Steve Jackson (guitar) and Mick Cooke (horns) the set has a the feel good factor of say, early 70's Paul McCartney, Harry Nilsson or Ronnie Lane. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

SOMA HIGH Something About You

My first impression of 'Something About You' was that it almost sounded like The Hoosiers with the cheesy, upbeat guitar rhythm and high-pitched vocals. More pop music than rock to be quite honest but seeing as I have a wide music taste this was right up my street. But then something weird happens. There's a HUGE sound shift to the chorus and then it almost reminds you of the likes of Radiohead and Queens of the Stone Age. I can't quite decide if this is a good or bad thing but it I think it has to be good as seen as it's head-boppingly catchy.

The problem is, I get the feeling it will be one of those songs which will be stuck in your head for days at a time no matter how annoying it gets.

With the next song on their second EP, you start to get used to the mind-boggling weirdness off this band. Sean Strugnell, the crazy Frontman, drops the falsetto vocals in 'Flashback Tuesday' in replace of a much mature sound that resembles that of the Arctic Monkeys. Even though the guitar in this track is relatively simplistic it seems to fit the track perfectly and just add the finishing touches to the song.

The third track is as much of a song as it is a protest. The repeated chanting of 'We don't want this' in the chorus is powerful, youthful and somehow makes you want to jump out of your seat and start chanting along.

I think this is one of those discs you keep at the back of the cabinet uner the heading of 'Guilty Pleasures' because however much of a cheesy indie EP it is, it's also feel-good pop that makes you want to dance around like a twelve year old girl singing into a hairbrush. ***

Review by Abigail Suter


The latest single from up and coming Welsh band Broken City Skyline deploys an early U2-esque beat to underscore their subtle blend of accessible pop rock.

With 3 EPs and a number of singles already under their belt Broken City Skyline could well be the next name to break out of the Welsh borders and take the UK mainstream by storm. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

Power Play

ELYSIAN BORN Magisterium (EP)

Apparently a prime slab of modern metal from a band influenced as much by Metallica and Pantera as Lamb Of God and Children Of Bodom.

The opening track kicks off in fine metal fashion, some good guitars, which then give way to the throat (to say vocals would an insult to all other vocalists). The throat mixes 100 cement mixers on speed with spoken word that sounds like a 1950’s radio.

'Black Slate' opens in stoner style before the racket comes in.

Remember the guy in Monty Python’s Meaning Of Life who is butchered in his own house giving a Live Organ Transplant? The vocals sound like that. Or quiet in ambient stoner style. A bit of an extreme.

I guess this wall of sound has its fans, but not me. The press release says breathtaking. This certainly will take your breath away, and so will being hit in the stomach by Mike Tyson.  **

Review by Joe Geesin

GODSIZED The Phoney Tough & The Crazy Brave EP

3 track EP, and it's brutal metal. A mix of alt.metal and some trad metal. Touches of Sabbath and Maiden, bit of grunge. The 3 tracks are pretty similar and although it's uptempo, there is a sludginess to it all. **½

Review by Joe Geesin

ORPHAN BOY Some Frontier

To put it bluntly, the whole song sounds like some chant you'd hear at a football match. The lyrics are very repetitive and they sound like they want to be the Sex Pistols but can't quite reach that level of talent quite yet. Listening to some of their other singles I am not really keen on any of them but compared to their other songs such as 'Satellites' this really doesn't come close to being any where near as good.

Maybe, just maybe, Orphan Boy will improve over time and then I will happily admit I was wrong. I think they have potential to become a really good indie band and I see why people may like them but this really doesn't work for me at all. I know it's very biased of me to say that but I'm only being honest about it.

Overall, I would give it a go if you're already a fan but I really don't think you're missing out on much if not.  *½

Review by Abigail Suter


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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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