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Singles Bar: October 2010

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

Reviews by Pete Feenstra, Jim Henderson, David Randall, Georgia Rawson, Abigail Suter and Pete Whalley


I've never heard anything quite like this rock 'no, wait alternative'. Well, that's the whole point; I don't know what it is but it's pretty darn amazing. This mega freakshow sounds like an entirely new genre of music exclusive to FFD.

The song starts out pretty normal and sounds like something by the likes of White Stripes but around halfway through it turns into some crazy space age rock melody.

Crazy space age rock melodies not your cup of tea? Fair enough but this is a good kind of crazy that won't let you down. This track's has a generous amount of alternative rock served with a big dollop of kick-ass funk on the side to add a bit of unbelievable ‘umph' to the mixture.

This strange yet stupendous single is released on the 29th of November only to be followed up by an album we all have high expectations for after hearing this in early 2011. I highly recommend you keep an eye on these because boy are they going to be big.  *****

Review by Abigail Suter

BEN RANDALL Love Finds A Way GRTR003

'Love Finds A Way' by guitarist Ben Randall is a stunningly good debut solo single. Barely 19 and armed with original compositional skills allied with a superb playing technique and a firm grasp of the rudiments of dynamics, young Randall brings his own 'voice' to bear on two essential guitar led instrumental rock tracks.

On the lead track 'Love Finds a Way' he confidently displays a strong sense of melody and relies on a fluid, unforced playing style alongside an intuitive feel for dynamics that goes beyond the contemporary penchant for the obvious quiet/loud dichotomy.

Both tracks suggest young Ben is a rare talent who is forging his own style in the power/metal instrumental guitar field. In fact on the title track his ability is reflected in the way he lets the melody linger and his deep tones breathe while wisely allowing the rhythm track to carry him along.

His playing style may owe a lot to the Paul Gilbert/Joe Satriani and Steve Vai school of guitarists - if only because of his virtuoso playing - but it's the primacy of the song's development that is impressive. Too often guitar led instrumental music is a dubious triumph of technique over feel and thematic development. But on 'Love Finds A Way', Ben Randall builds the momentum nicely from the song's conceptualisation to its fruition.

He saves his heavier side for the following 'Way To Burn', on which he employs a clever acoustic/electric intro with some heavy staccato riffs, some wah wah inflected spiralling guitar lines and a stunning legato technique over a thunderous drum track.

Both tracks complement each other well and show two sides of a burgeoning talent. There's a radical shift from the sophisticated thematic development of the opener to the exhilarating speedy fluid lines of 'Way To Burn' on which he bristles with unfettered explosive energy and brilliant technique.

Ben has already won the 'Most Promising Guitarist' prize on the net based 'Guitar Idol' competition, and certainly his incendiary soloing and double tracked lines on the second half of 'Burn' suggests he's got the requisite locker full of licks to match an impressive song writing talent.

Fiery, intense and burning with a real passion that is nicely tempered by an unlikely touch of maturity, Ben Randall's is certainly a guitar player to watch. At the very least guitar fans should check out the single, you won't be disappointed.  *****

Review by Pete Feenstra

KINGS OF LEON Radioactive

Kings Of Leon still have it. Radioactive is a big slap in the face for any doubters.

With their own stylistic, catchy and harmonic guitars, cleverly marching drums and one of the most distinctive vocals in not only rock but music itself, Kings of Leon never seem to stop amazing those who catch themselves listening to their heart warming anthems.

U2 did it, Madonna did it and Bob Geldof did it. Kings Of Leon pass on the message of hope for the suffering, poverty stricken Africa with the simplistic yet powerfully moving lyrics of ‘it’s in the water, it’s gonna save us’ and with a sound like this, Kings Of Leon find themselves pleasingly placed next to the other awareness super stars.

Kings of Leon prove they have the pulling power that draws all music fans alike to their sensational rhythms and ‘Radioactive’s uplifting atmosphere gives a whole new feel to the band. A defying highlight of their career to date. Glastonbury anyone?

Those gang vocal, beautifully composed African choir choruses soon give way to the gripping guitar melodies, thunderous pound of drums and cymbals, not to mention defined bass lines. *****

Review by Georgia Rawson

DEAF HAVANA My Life Is Average

Already haven risen as one of the best new UK bands, Deaf Havana don’t look at halting on their road to world domination just yet. Yes their screamer has left and yes this may have altered their sound in slight ways, but Deaf Havana continues to be just as unique and catchy as ever. ‘My Life Is Average’ has its own uniqueness and with its rhythmic bass lines, crashing drums and their most toned and clean vocals to date (where has James Gilodi been hiding this voice for the last year?)

Post Hardcore may have faded slightly, but Deaf Havana are still rocking harder than ever. With its gentle opening guitar melody and leisurely yet beautifully written opening, there is definitely an opportunity for vocalist James Gilodi to combine his harmonic, yet remarkably dynamic vocals with the cocktails of slow and heavy breakdowns Chris Pennell’s guitar continues to serve causing a mass of liveliness to alight this single like wild fire..

The guitars and bass seem this time round don’t seem to be fighting to be heard over the cymbals and crashes of the drums, but give a filled, layering sound to the backings. Rather than the simplistic lyrics found in bands such as You Me At Six, James Veck-Gilodi seems to be a complex lyricist that writes with honesty about the hard efforts put into the band to get them where they are today.

A band with a lust for riff breakdowns and vocal hooks, there is definitely a feeling of déjà vu of the early Lostprophets and Taking back Sunday records, but with a more raw and modern feel. For fans of the post hardcore and metal scene, it is easy to see why a lot of us have heard this band’s name come up so often with high opinions of them. A fist pumping and energetic single that in all honesty will be going down well on their headlining tour later this year. *****

Review by Georgia Rawson


It's clear that this song has an important message behind it yet you can't help but drag your attention away from this as Jonnie Owen's stunning falsetto kicks in after an intro that sounds like it was sent directly from heaven itself.

The first verse of CCTV seems to lull you into a false sense of security before Owen suddenly declares 'your home is not a safe place' shocking you out of your relaxed state. The harshly powerful lyrics cut into your mind like razors and the song once again shows its extremely serious side.

This track is rock music with a twist. Instead of just yelling some random rebellious words into the microphone, the frontman of The Last Republic states the worrying facts. Big Brother is watching you.  ****½

Review by Abigail Suter

FM City Limits EP (Riff City Records)

What a year it has been for FM. And this 9-track EP is an excellent summary, complete with photos to remind us of some of the key events: Firefest, Download and a successful UK tour in July.

If you haven't heard any FM, this is a good place to start. The lead track (also included as an extended remix) has caused ripples on BBC Radio 2 and shows off well the band's radio-friendly credentials, whilst new track 'Start It Up' could easily follow it in terms of airplay.

Elsewhere, an acoustic version of 'That Girl' underlines the quality of that song, and the soulful vocals of Steve Overland, and the remaining live tracks (culled from 'Metropolis') demonstrate the band flourishing after fifteen years of fallow.

For a band who produced limited edition boxes and picture discs back in the day it is also comforting that they still put out the modern day equivalent.  Long may it continue.

A great band, that will hopefully consolidate their much deserved success next year. ****

Review by David Randall

ALL ENDS Generation Disgrace

If Pink went metal it would almost certainly sound like the latest single from Swedish alt metal pop rockers All Ends. With a Glitter Band drum pattern, big guitars, a huge girl power glam chorus, and punctuated with punky vocals from Jonna Sailon and Tinna Karlsdotter, it's got 'hit' written all over it.

The B-side 'Nobody's Story', a delicate piano and vocals piece shows the band's versatility and bodes well for their forthcoming 2nd album A Road To Depression. ****

Review by Peter Whalley


The second single to be lifted from alt / industrial LA rock band Filter's 5th studio album The Trouble With Angels, No Love is a huge slice of radio friendly emo rock, melodic, but with just a nice metal edge thrown in for good measure. Those who like the more mainstream rock aspects of, say Linkin Park will lap this up.

Not a band I'm familiar with, but on the strength of No Love, the band's greatest hits compilation The Very Best Of Things (2005 - 2008) could well be worth further research. ****

Review by Pete Whalley


Hardcore lovers with their own Punk rock attitude with those just oh so catchy hooks. Born from the futuristic hearts of hardcore blended with the deep sentimentality of punk that had been forgotten about some what 30s years ago, Max Raptor seem to be the new kids on the scene, that’s not to sat they don’t know what they’re doing.

Fresh from Download Festival and currently out headlining their own UK tour, Max Raptor are as vicious as they meaty dinosaur they chose for a band name and will be ripping apart audiences up and down the country with their thrashing instrumental yet fun going vocals.

The crisp punchy guitars gives this single a back bone not to mention the Adam Lazzara inspired and Dave Grohl tweaked vocals of front man Wil Ray (who bears an uncanny resemblance to Morrissey) who just keeps the energy on full throttle through out with his socially raged lyrics ‘of living out of a cage, with minimum wage’ and jumpy energy that keeps you on your toes at all time.

The distortion is maxed out into clean cut guitars and tight drums that pound hard down (and up) from the dramatic, somewhat cinematic breakdowns before leaping in head first into an anthemic chorus that could have any festival audience easily tearing to pieces and pounding their fists in the air.

A band definitely worth keeping an eye on. Production wise, Max Raptor stand out clearly from the amateurs around them and professionalism is not seen anywhere else in a band on the same scale. Climbing at a fast pace, Max Raptor are more than willing to rip you to pieces , just having fun whilst they’re at it.  ****

Review by Georgia Rawson


Falling somewhere between Imogen Heap and Little Boots, The Good Natured is the pseudo name of nineteen year old Sarah McIntosh. Be My Animal is her second single and it's a peach.

I'm not normally one who's captivated by vocals and synths combos, but Be My Animal an electronic love song with a hypnotic beat and alluring vocals - is a delight and has one of the catchiest uplifting choruses you'll hear this year. ****

Review by Pete Whalley

MEET THE STORM Sailing on a Broken Compass EP

Dirty, anthemic hardcore is exactly what your going to get from this undoubtedly epic record. If you're into typical, clean rock; I suggest you stay well away from the grimy sounds of Meet the Storm.

These have a certain resemblance to Gallows. Don't get me wrong, I'm not accusing them of copying here because in their own way, they are truly unique. Frontman Matt's abrasive vocals are counteracted by the melodic backing vocals which smoothes out the otherwise painfully sharp edges.

Unlike some hardcore bands, Meet The Storm seem to be able to pull the style of beautifully without the clashing of varying vocal types and this is evident from 'Can't Plan Regret'; the first track on their exceptionally crafted follow-up to 2009's self-titled EP.

'Sailing Out To Fail' pushes the brutality of the band formed just three years ago to a whole new level. I can just about imagine walking through the street with this on your iPod and the rapidly increasing urge to start a mosh pit in the middle of town welling up inside you so that you can release the imprint of aggressiveness this track leaves on you. Ok, so the chorus dies down into a majority of melodic vocals but that doesn't last too long and soon the urge arises again.

Surely it's time for Meet The Storm to relax the hardcore ethics and give way to a new, softer sound by now? Wrong. These guys are just intensely energetic and this is what they do; spoon-feed the audience a rather large portion of screamo then just when you think they're backing down, there's just another stamina overflow of thrash during 'Hindenburg' to fill the empty spaces and stun you.

This is hardcore at it's best and I wouldn't be lying if I said I thought this was much better than some of the bands Meet the Storm have taken influence from.  ****

Review by Abigail Suter

DEAD CELLS Friday Feeling

They've only been around for a few months but Dead Cells are already well up there with extensive radio airplay and a single due to be released this November.

Friday Feeling isn't exactly what I would have expected from any band these days to be quite honest. Some people wonder why there's such a lack of good ol' classic rock such as Pearl Jam and Led Zeppelin these days but Dead Cells are sure to cure your withdrawal symptoms of raw guitar talent, powerful vocals and clean rock.

The B-side to this single is Running Man, a song that starts out with a very different feel to the previous song but quickly picks up pace to bring back that well-loved, simplistic, gritty rock sound.

Don't be put off by the fact they've only been around for such a short time; Dead Cells promise they are not just a one-album band and I'm pretty sure they'll continue to impress. If you're sick and tired of all the industrialised, fancy, modern rock then bingo! This is for you.  ****

Review by Abigail Suter

GIRL AFRAID Believe What Comes Next EP

Formed in 2008, Girl Afraid are a relatively new quartet who are the masters of conjuring up an addictive pop-rock melody from thin air.

'Believe What Comes Next' is the first track of this stunning EP. Where there is a lack of powerful, melodic, perfectly pioneered guitar the dynamic, compelling vocals make up for this and completely rescue the track from the grasp of the harsh comments that it could have received.

The guitarist clearly redeems himself in the tracks that follow; 'The Many Moods of Larry David' and 'When All This is Over, We'll Just Shake Hands and Say Goodbye' (that second one's a bit of a mouthful!).

'The Many Moods of Larry David' is my personal favourite as it has all the essential ingredients to rustle up the perfect pop-rock song. The slow verses build up the ideal quantity of anticipation for something heavier. Girl Afraid soon fulfil this expectation by cutting to a very fetching chorus that you can't help but tap along to.

The band managed to regain my attention after the slight disappointment the first track made me feel and I'm happy to admit that these guys are definitely one to watch in the future.

Overall, even though I find this EP a bit average, there's nothing wrong with a bit of predictable, emotionally charged rock-pop now and again if that's what floats your boat.  ***½

Review by Abigail Suter


Neon, synth laden, epic alternative pop that would knock The Hoosiers and The Killers around a bit, Talk to Angels is bursting with a highly dangerous addiction of hooks and a dramatic sound like no other at the moment.

Recent single ‘Enemies’ is filled to the brim with its hyperactive guitars, snappy bass lines and vocals that seem so aggravated that they might just bark at you for the hell of it, Talk To Angels definitely take on the sound of the early 2000 alternative pop sound that saw the likes of The Killers breaking through.

However as verse blends into the non-distinctive chorus, the romance for rave and auto tune keyboards becomes tiring and repetitive enough for me to skip to the next track. But when all looks downhill for Talk To Angels, track ‘She’ sparks off an emotionally captivating piano rock ballad that shows why Talk To Angels really do have that angelic touch to their indie- pop melodies and harmonies.

A dramatic build up to the beautifully written chorus that makes The Fray look like metal gods. Talk To Angels seem very controversial. They may not be able to keep up a fast pace with their too energetic rhythms, but slowing it down definitely means Talk To Angels know how to perfectly pioneer piano ballads.   ***½

Review by Georgia Rawson


The second single the from up and coming Southampton based four piece who are already attracting attention on the rock circuit supporting bands like Twin Atlantic.

Reflecting on globalism and the loss of individuality, Black Hole is the perfect showcase for the band's talents shimmering guitars, melodic hooks, emotive vocals and a staccato power chorus building to a tumultuous crescendo. One to watch. ***½

Review by Pete Whalley


Hailing from Trondheim in Norway, The Action Five’s style can be roughly classified as 'rock/power pop'. They certainly pack a mean punch on the powerful ‘Stuck In My Pocket’ and the melodic rock of ‘Get Your Kicks’.

The real highlight here though is the glorious ‘Idaho’. Opening with some gutsy harmonica, this killer track gets under the skin on first play and boasts an insanely catchy chorus.

They cite Detroit rock ‘n’ roll as an influence – that’s certainly evident here, but then so are some duelling Thin Lizzy-esque guitars! More tracks in the vein of ‘Idaho’ could help them to attract some international recognition – after all, it’s a formula that worked well enough for their Scandinavian neighbours The Soundtrack Of Our Lives.   ***

Review by Jim Henderson

Jim Henderson presents "Power Pop" on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sunday 18:00 (first and last Sunday of each month)

EVERY AVENUE Tell Me I'm A Wreck

Yet another in the long, long line of post Busted cross over pop / rock bands that inhabit festival stages all summer long. The difference being, these guys are from the US of A.

Semi spoken vocals, boy meets girl lyrics, punchy rhythm and melodic chorus, it's the sound of the summer radio. Impeccably constructed and executed, Tell Me I'm A Wreck is infuriatingly addictive, but at the end of the day its disposable power pop. ***

Review by Peter Whalley

WILD PARTY Take My Advice

On tour supporting The Wombats shortly, this Texas five piece serve up a catchy bend of indie pop that should have them dancing in the aisles.

Falling somewhere between the Killers and The Strokes but with the pop sensibilities of The Wombats, it's a winning formula. But is it the sound of yesterday?

We've seen an endless chain of bands like this in recent years, but Wild Party have all the credentials to join the club. It seems like the US of A is only just catching up with what this genre has to offer. ***

Review by Pete Whalley


Roxanne Emery is the latest on a very long. long line of wannabe female singer songwriter pop stars. Only last year she was a City investment banker, but soon her debut album Remember Me will hit an unsuspecting public. So the question is, was it a clever trade? Well, there's no doubting that Real is a radio friendly piece of pop in the same vein as the likes of Natalie Imbruglia. It's got a great hook and a familiar feel, but original it ain't. ***

Review by Peter Whalley


Taken from the album Burning Your House Down, Shoot First is the sort of boogie-woogie rock 'n' roll that Alex Harvey, God rest his soul, once delivered. Raucous, edgy and delivered with panache and raw Listerine soaked vocals. No doubt wonderful in a late night drinking parlour, but I somehow doubt it's destined for major airplay. **½

Review by Peter 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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