Single Review: Department M – Miscellany

Department M

Department M shoot a large portion of intriguing sounds straight to your ears as soon as ‘Miscellany’ graces your speakers. The industrial electro-synth tones partnered with a cleverly syncopated hard-hitting drum beat combine to create a sound that leaves you wanting more. The instruments initially jar, but as the track progresses it all makes sense. […]

Single Review: The Black Waterside – Cold Night, Dark Ground

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Best-suited to the underground dive bars of New York or overground blues/rockabilly Nashville backdrops, this gritty Kent-based revival of rock ‘n’ roll is an interesting one. The Black Waterside is a five-piece band hailing, surprisingly, from the ‘Garden of England’, yet their sound is something unexpected. The band are tight, the instrumentation and the vibe […]

SINGLE REVIEW: DISCLOSURE – F FOR YOU

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The duo that smashed their way into the ears of the nation but a few months ago have brought out yet another ‘banger’. The follow up to their last single ‘You & Me’, which included the sultry tones of Eliza Doolittle, on the garage throwback track F For You (F actually stands for Fool) is […]

Single Review: John Wizards – Lusaka By Night

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Having recently surfaced on the scene from out of nowhere, John Wizards – aka South African production duo John Withers and Emmanuel Nzaramba – have wangled themselves a debut release on legendary electronica label, Planet Mu. Here, in the space of just two tracks, the pair manage to pogo through a myriad of influences and […]

Single Review: Charge Group – Run

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Sophomore releases are a thing of beauty. They can either make or brake a fledging act – whether it’s a disappointing follow up to a smash record or a momentum builder which keeps the fans on side. It’s been over 4 years since they dropped their début record Escaping Mankind, but Sydney 4-piece Charge Group are back […]

Single Review: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Jubilee Street

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I always had a bit of a gripe with the TV series 24 – which claims to be a drama screened “in real time”. Fair play, one hour after it has started, the story has moved on by an hour – but you have actually only watched 42 minutes of action. In fact, a bit […]

Single Review: Liz Lawrence – Bedroom Hero

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The melodic beauty of Laura Marling meets the atmospheric rises and falls of Florence + The Machine. Liz Lawrence’s new single ‘Bedroom Hero’ is the first track from her début album (out 2013) with the same title. At only 22 Lawrence has already been receiving rave reviews across Ireland, and it’s no wonder why. ‘Bedroom Hero’ has […]

Single Review: City Reign – Ahead of Ideas

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Manchester based trio City Reign’s new single ‘Ahead of Ideas’ is a guitar heavy tribute to the indie bands of the North. A well-written track with that iconic ‘Northern Sound’ sets this song up to be a success within its genre. Not only has the band produced a great new single, but they also manage […]

Single Review: Jessie Ware – Night Light

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After the success of ‘Wildest Moments’ earlier this year, now comes Jessie Ware’s fourth single of the year, ‘Night Light’. This song is from her album, Devotion, which made it to number five in the UK charts upon its release in August and has now been nominated for a Mercury Prize. It starts as a promising, […]

Single Reviews: Fruits de Mer Records – October Releases

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I look forward to Fruits de Mer records coming through my door. In some ways it seems strange that nobody else on the Silent Radio team seems to get jealous that I end up reviewing a good chunk of them – but it does make sense, because what Fruits de Mer (FdM) do is not […]

Single Review: Minus The Bear – Steel And Blood

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The first time I heard Minus The Bear was on a beach and it seemed their thoughtfully composed yet totally chilled out style of music was the perfect backing to an afternoon in the sun – whether that be on the white sands of Hawaii or, in my case, the somewhat darker sands of a […]

SINGLE: MAJOR LAZER – ‘GET FREE’

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The pioneers of booty shaking, reggae fuelled, dancefoor smashers; Major Lazer, rope in the talents of Amber Coffman from Dirty Projectors in their latest release; “Get Free”. A much more downtempo outing than their previous material but by no means lacking in quality. The track kicks back at a dub-paced flow with light smatterings of […]

Single Review: Richard Hawley – Down In The Woods

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It’s been 3 years since Sheffieldite, Richard Hawley, released an album. Even though he teased fans with guest vocals on an Arctic Moneys track earlier this year, Hawley returns with his punchy, rock ‘n’ roll fuelled 7th album, Standing On The Sky’s Edge. And fuelled with Rock ‘n’ Roll it certainly is. ‘Down In The Woods’, […]

SINGLE REVIEW: Electric Guest – Awake

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As one of the showcasing artists at this year’s SXSW festival, a great deal of attention has been thrown Electric Guest’s way. In May, I saw Electric Guest perform to a sparse crowd during Liverpool Sound City and it’s their newest single, ‘Awake’, that has the potential to rouse the music aficionados and create a […]

SINGLE: THE WILD EYES – I LOOK GOOD ON YOU

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The debut single from The Wild Eyes “I Look Good On You b/w Too Much” features Huw Robert’s (vocals, guitars), Sam Gill (drums) and Neal Johnson (bass), who were nurtured and stifled in equal measure by the small towns of their youth.  They now reside in Liverpool and the trio have recently earned a fierce […]

Single Review: The Lucid Dream – Hits Me Like I’m Stoned

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What’s not to like about the crazy kids* at Fruits de Mer records? They are a small, independent UK label; they only release on limited edition vinyl; they have a sister label called ‘Regal Crabomophone’ (whatever that’s supposed to mean); they even send their press releases on shiny silver 200gsm paper… Fruits de Mer are […]

SINGLE: THE GRAVELTONES – ‘I WANT YOUR LOVE’

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Sure, it is easy to look at The Graveltones and quickly compare them to The Black Keys. Both bands compose of two men playing drums and guitar, both bands play fuzzy modern blues, and both bands draw their influences from the great rock legends of John Lee Hooker and Led Zeppelin. But unlike The Black […]

Single Review: Wildeflower – Good Girl/Amazing Discovery

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“Good Girl” is the debut single from Wildeflower, a six piece folk-rock band from Englefield Green. This single release offers a modern folk style with close three-part harmonies as well as coupling rich layered instrumentation with lo-fi production. Led by Max Kinghorn-Mills, the psychedelic folk group marries influences from rivals/progressives Nick Drake, Bert Jansch and […]

Single Review: Django Django – Storm/Skies Over Cairo

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After the release of their self-titled début album, Django Django, the Scottish art-rock band, have released a perky little ditty titled ‘Storm’. Although some bands take inspiration from the headline names of the past, Django Django take theirs from the now defunct Scottish indie “semi-legends”, The Beta Band. The rigid drum beat, metronomic in style, keeps the track […]

SINGLE REVIEW: BILLY VINCENT – BOTTLE TOP

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London five-piece Billy Vincent blend folk with a touch of rock and a dash of country on this, their first single release. Just as their name fuses those of the band’s best-friend vocalists Billy Barratt and David Vincent, so the quintet’s sound brings together that of Ed Harcourt, Jeff Buckley and James Morrison. With début full-length She […]

Single Review: Justice – On ‘N’ On

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It is without doubt that Justice are one of the most iconic and influential French dance duos to successfully orientate themselves through the herds of sweaty makeshift bedroom DJ’s that make up a large part of the electronic dance scene. The mighty glowing crucifix takes centre stage during their shows and album artwork and it […]

SINGLE REVIEW: CHARLOTTE GAINSBOURG – ANNA

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As the daughter of Serge Gainsbourg, Charlotte carries a lot of musical expectation on her shoulders. Having Beck by her side for her last album ‘IRM’ must’ve helped her along the way a little, his influence is still occasionally apparent and her vocal style could be likened to her breathy and deep sounding French father. […]

Single Review: Inspiral Carpets – You’re So Good For Me

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This is the first new material Inspiral Carpets have recorded in fifteen years after singer, Tom Hingley, departed the band in 2008 amid frustration over gigs and rumours that venue choices were dictated by Clint Boon honouring the network he had built up during his DJ career. Hingley was replaced by original singer and founder […]

SINGLE: Casiokids – Det Haster!

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‘Det Haster!’, roughly translated (by google translator of course) to ‘Urgency’, is particularly apt. Norway’s Casiokids are absolutely amazing live. Fact! They are a blistering, amphetamine ball of electro energy, vibrance and fun. This spectacle has not yet successfully translated onto vinyl. On record the keytarists are a vapid, 2D disappointment. It’s a bit like […]

SINGLE: Pritch & Trim – Stereotype/Kiss My Arse

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The man of many names and countless brilliant tracks, Mark Pritchard, takes to the studio with one of Grime best-est, MC Trim. The single comes with two tracks from the pair and instrumentals to boot. Mark lays down a swaggering, light-hearted beat on ‘Stereotype’ with hooks redolent of a soundtrack to a 1970s comedy skit. […]

Single Review: The Rifles – Tangled Up In Love

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Don’t mistake The Rifles for just another indie band. Their new track is catchy, and has a really vintage feel about it. Team that with a serious string section and guitar solo and you have a very strong song from their new album Freedom Run. Chris Potter, who really has brought his experience to the […]

Single Review: Seasick Steve – It’s A Long Long Way

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‘It’s A Long Long Way’ is the latest release from Seasick Steve’s new album, You Can’t Teach A Dog Old Tricks.  In the typical Seasick style, ‘It’s A Long, Long Way’ has great lyrics while Steve’s delivery make it incisive and poignant. It is a very versatile effort which I could image being played both […]

Single Review: King Midas Sound (Kuedo & Mala Remixes)

Two musical pioneers break it and remake it on Hyperdub’s fifty fourth release, as Kuedo (aka Jamie Vex’d and Mala) rework two tracks off King Midas Sound’s début long player, Waiting For You. The tracks are our first taste of what to expect from King Midas Sound’s next album Without You, a re-voiced and re-worked […]

SINGLE: FUTURE PROOF – ONE MORE CHANCE

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‘One More Chance’ is the Debut single from new pop boy band, Future Proof. Think a Busted style line up, with more of a new McFly style track, over a Taio Cruz beat…Basically there will be thousands of girls across the country screaming their names at some point in the next year. The track is […]

SINGLE: THE MISERABLE RICH – ANYTHING’S POSSIBLE

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Dubbed as ‘the world’s foremost purveyors of bar room chamber music‘, ‘Anything’s Possible’ is the first release taken from The Miserable Rich’s upcoming third album ‘Miss You in The Days’, a swift follow up to last year’s ‘Flight of Fancy’. I’ve been listening to the track on and off for almost a week now, and […]

SINGLE: WU LYF – DIRT/LYF

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A pair of plain recycled cardboard CD sleeves popped through my letterbox, and if I hadn’t already known who Wu Lyf were, I wouldn’t have found out much more on the internet. Especially before the release of Go Tell Fire To The Mountain, their marketing strategy was to hide behind a bizarre mix of imagery […]

SINGLE REVIEW: Seasick Steve – Can’t Teach An Old Dog New Tricks

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When I first saw new pictures of Seasick Steve in Elton-esque shades I did wonder if the once homeless blues player had got a bit big for his denim dungarees. But after a listen to his latest single, I realised that the OTT appearance was more than well deserved.  If his last album was a […]

SINGLE REVIEW: The Naked & Famous

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With its sparse, yet super-melodic intro, ‘Girls Like You’, the 4th single from Passive Me, Aggressive You, caught me off guard on first listen. Immediately electronic, with synth sounds swelling between percussion, it is reminiscent of MGMT’s ‘Oracular Spectacular’, which is,of course, no bad thing, but it does mean that The Naked & Famous are […]

SINGLE: Ratmataz Lorry Excitement – A Year Short On Surprises/Trial & Errors

It’s been a long time coming, but Ratmataz Lorry Excitement (AKA Kev Dosdale) is back from his hiatus. Thankfully it has not been too long that he has had to re-invent himself, like many will attempt and fail. The first component of the double A-side ‘A Year Short On Surprises’ immediately kicks off with some […]

SINGLE REVIEW: To The Chase – When You Believed/The Return

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Hackney’s To The Chase are billed as genre blending indie/soul pioneers – a bold boast which they don’t quiet deliver on – but what they do offer is perfectly catchy and wholly inoffensive indie pop . ‘When you believed’ is an exuberant single that zips along nicely and is blessed with an infectiously catchy chorus. […]

SINGLE REVIEW: The Jim Jones Revue – Dishonest John

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If you’re expecting an unbiased critique of “Dishonest John”, you’re not going to get it. The Jim Jones Revue is the best good time rock n roll band around right now.  Dishonest John sums up JJR perfectly: 2 minutes of blistering rock ‘n’ roll blues that you’ve just gotta shake your ass to. To really […]

SINGLE REVIEW: Funkystepz – Fuller/Hurricane Riddim

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The aptly named Funkystepz gives us two slices of unforgiving UK Funky, and more goodness from Hyperdub. Funkystepz is a collective of five North Londoners creatively named Stimpy, Renay, Scrufizzer, Twitch and DJ, and with a strong following on their Rinse FM show and a string of self released tracks, this forty-ninth Hyperdub offering sees […]

SINGLE REVIEW: The Megaphonic Thrift – Talks Like a Weed King/Fill Your Cup Tokyo

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I’m listening to the Megaphonic Thrift’s single one last time as I finish off this review and I won’t be in any particular hurry to listen to it again – but on the other hand, I will definitely catch them if they play at any of the festivals I’m off to this year. There are […]

SINGLE REVIEW: The Jolly Boys – Perfect Day

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Does anyone who covers ‘Perfect Day’ actually know it’s about heroin? I sometimes wonder. Getting the BBC to adopt this seminal song could be seen as a bizarrely subversive moment. But considering it was used to express the diversity of BBC coverage, and the song’s complex exploration of romantic expression, drug abuse, suppressed homosexuality and […]

SINGLE REVIEW – Nina Nastasia – You Can Take Your Time

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Taken from this year’s Outlaster album, ‘You Can Take Your Time’ sounds so much like a variant on ‘Keep Me Warm’ by Ida Maria that it’s unreal. Essentially the tunes are identical, but it’s the little details that make or break a song. The devil is, as always, in the details. ‘Keep Me Warm’ is essentially […]

SINGLE REVIEW: The Chanteuse & The Crippled Claw – Are You One

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Throughout each month I will regularly trawl through the listings on each of the Manchester venues websites to find the great and the good that will be playing so we can pass on this info in our handpicked gig guide. Now believe it or not, we will only include something in the guide if we […]

SINGLE REVIEW: Ensemble – Envie D’Avalanches

Olivier Alary et Johannes Malfatti

Montreal-based Olivier Alary, the man behind Ensemble, is a self-destructive songwriter a la Thom Yorke. It’s not that Ensemble really sound anything like Radiohead, Alary sings in French for a start, it’s just that both he and Yorke pen accessible, beautiful songs and do everything they can to fuck them up, primarily through somewhat schizophrenic […]

SINGLE REVIEW: The National – Terrible Love

The National

To coincide with the expanded edition of High Violet, The National release the album’s best track, ‘Terrible Love’. Though well-respected, The National have always courted boringness like an enemy they keep too close. But with ‘Terrible Love’ that enemy is thrown into a pit and buried alive, because wow, this track is extraordinary. Cleverly, the guitars […]

SINGLE: King Midas Sound – Lost (with video)

King Midas Sound makes a welcome return to Hyperdub since ‘Waiting For You’ landed in November last year, making a large dub shaped dent in our world. With the album still ringing in our ears and the live show burning into our minds (if you were lucky enough to catch it), this stands as the […]

SINGLE: The Wombats – Tokyo (Vampires & Wolves)

The Wombats came to represent everything that was wrong with the scratchy, post-Libertines indie scene. Their lyrics were not just dull, they were obviously stupid. Will moving to New York, a city that famously never sleeps, help you defeat insomnia? And is dancing to Joy Division ironic? No it will not, and no it fucking […]

SINGLE REVIEW: Darkstar – Gold

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Last year, Darkstar laid out some concrete foundations with the ludicrously catchy “Aidy’s Girl is a Computer”. Their debut release on Hyperdub, the track managed to make its way around clubs, televisions and home stereo’s alike, and is still firmly lodged somewhere in my brain for the foresee able future (I still love it!) Since […]

SINGLE REVIEW: The Decemberists – Down By The Water

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The swash-buckling, sea-shanty-ing troubadours are back with an excellent, rousing single. The band that brought you an 11 minute tale of revenge culminating in a torture scene inside a whale’s stomach, have teamed up with R.E.M.’s Peter Buck (and his magical twelve string guitar) and Gillian Welch. ‘Down by the Water’ actually sounds a lot […]

SINGLE: Musée Mécanique – Fits & Starts

Though it might be hard to believe, ‘Fits & Starts’ is one of the more upbeat moments from Hold This Ghost – an album of nostalgic, folk mastery. In ‘Fits & Starts’ it feels like Musée Mécanique are holding a warm, living person (though possibly dying), as opposed to a cold, clammy ghost. This is […]

SINGLE: Bombay Bicycle Club – Rinse Me Down

Muffled drums without cymbals and purely acoustic guitars give ‘Rinse Me Down’ a sort of ‘farmhouse folk’ feel. It’s all in keeping with the very diatonic, upbeat folk of the moment. It is very lively – in an understated way – especially when the hi-hat kicks in before the second verse, bringing in an uplifting […]

SINGLE: The Charlatans – My Foolish Pride

‘My Foolish Pride’ is a lovely, catchy, kitchen sink sing-along tune full of introspection and heart warming self-deprecation, straight-forward, nothing fancy, something lots of people will relate to. As the title may suggest, the song is a tale of regret, reflection, and just a little bit of self-pity, but if it was this and this […]

SINGLE: Manic Street Preachers – (It’s Not War) Just the End of Love

It’s hard to imagine now, but at the turn of the millennium The Manics were firmly out of favour. I remember seeing a picture in the NME of an overweight, dishevelled looking James Dean Bradfield with a caption saying something like, “Who ate all the pies”? Trust the NME to not see beyond the image. […]

SINGLES: The Minutes – Fleetwood

Irish rock trio The Minutes will have lovers of all things down and dirty paying close attention. There’s nothing radically original about new single ‘Fleetwood’, built on a fusion of early Fleetwood Mac and, as the three Dubliners will no doubt be tired of hearing, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s grunge. Where this pulsing, upbeat song […]

SINGLE: Goldfrapp – Believer

London duo Goldfrapp’s latest single ‘Believer’ is an honest effort as far as bright and buzzy electropop goes. But new album ‘Head First’ was clearly produced with ‘sales first’ in mind. No one would argue that it’s a problem unique to the decade. Yet established artists face a challenge in the current climate to retain […]

SINGLE: Björk – Comet Song

Eccentric Icelandic songstress Björk has recorded a song for the upcoming Moomins film. Though The Moomins is a distinctly Scandinavian film, with the scattered percussion and flickering panpipes, ‘Comet Song’ sounds like it would go better with a Studio Ghibli animated, native South American scene set in dense rainforest as opposed to the barren wastelands […]

SINGLE: The Strange Death of Liberal England – Lighthouse

Carefully written in a seamless fashion, ‘Lighthouse’ plays its colours dark grey colours well. It has a deeply brooding feel. The recorded space between the instruments gives it a chance to swell and reserve its layers, and allows the little charming snippets of its orchestration to chime through, giving an extra spangle to the song. […]

SINGLE REVIEW: Morcheeba – Blood Like Lemonade

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Marking the return of honey-toned singer Skye Edwards, who left in 2003 following those pesky ‘musical differences’ that eat at every band at some point, ‘Blood Like Lemonade’ is the title track from Morcheeba’s seventh album.   It’s also the name of a cocktail apparently, the ingredients of which are listed on the back of the […]

SINGLE REVIEW: LV Ft. OKMALUMKOOLKAT – Boomslang

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The forty fourth release on Hyperdub sees South Africa & South London come together as LV hooks up with South African Kwaito artist Smiso Zwane (aka Okmalumkoolkat). Fusing their own unique styles, the pair’s meeting makes for a highly infectious set of sounds. ‘Boomslang’ kicks out a UK funky beat fired up by Kool Kat’s […]

SINGLE REVIEW: Badly Drawn Boy – Too Many Miracles

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You’d struggle to find a more down to earth, northern, quirky songwriter than Badly Drawn Boy. With his trademark woolly hat and delightfully Mancunian vocals, Damon Gough is the epitome of the North.  After three years of producing soundtracks, the hat clad, lyrical genius is finally back and releasing “too many miracles,” the first single […]

SINGLE REVIEWS: Orphan Boy – Some Frontier

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Britain’s leading exponents of “council-pop” – Britain’s only exponents of council-pop – are back with a new single, ‘Some Frontier’.  The track comes from Orphan Boy’s second album Passion, Pain and Loyalty, which was released in August. It’s got radio-friendly-hit written all over it, in that it’s catchy but there’s a slight air of blandness to it.  […]

SINGLE REVIEW: DVA (ft. Fatima) – Just Vybe (Soule:Power Mix)

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Hot on the heels of his last release, DVA comes through on Hyperdub for round two. ‘Just Vybe (Soul:Power Mix)’ took me by surprise. The track opened to the exact sound of ‘Natty’ (his first outing on Hyperdub), making me think that I’d somehow picked the wrong file or bounced back in time – I […]

SINGLE: Dinosaur Pile-Up – Mona Lisa

‘Mona Lisa’ is the first single from Dinosaur Pile-up’s forthcoming debut album, Growing Pains.  The Leeds three-piece makes no qualms about their love of the Foo Fighters, and this single certainly makes a fitting tribute. From the get-go there’s a pervading US, 90s feel; the late 90s particularly, where grunge metamorphosed into jock-rock.  And like […]

SINGLE: BLACK MOUNTAIN – OLD FANGS

This track is a taster from the eagerly anticipated third album from Canada’s psyche/stoners Black Mountain. The album “Wilderness Heart” is due for UK release on the 13th of September  2010 and will be supported with a full UK tour in September and October . I must confess I didn’t get around to buying the […]

SINGLE: Grinderman – Heathen Child

For a few years in the mid 60s Bob Dylan attained a level of genius very few musicians have reached before or since. With humour, bile and impossible eloquence he spat out incisive songs that to this day seem to glimpse at some higher truth. Nick Cave has reached a similar plateau. The paranoid, often […]

SINGLE: The Jim Jones Revue – High Horse

The feeling is right. It’s raucous, punching, bleary eyed, spinning, upbeat, honky-tonk ruff rock’n’roll blues. But the song’s simple structure is nothing original, and the use of the radio effect on the singer’s voice is a style that gets old – it does not standout as anything to be noticed. The music video shot for this song is […]

SINGLE: Roots Manuva meets Wrongtom – Jah Warriors

I listened to this record once and thought it was absolutely terrible. Now normally, that’s OK because I can listen to crap over-and-over and rip it to pieces. The whole review process is done in a day or two and I can relax. ‘Jah Warriors’ was so bad that I had to hide for a week […]

SINGLE: Klaxons – Echoes

Gorillaz once described winning the Mercury Music Prize as, “Like carrying a dead albatross round your neck for eternity”. With such a widely lauded and awarded debut album, when it comes to the Klaxons it’s not the Prize that will weigh them down, but the album itself, and you can substitute that albatross for a […]

SINGLE: Cooly G – It’s Up In My Head/Phat Si

After the organ moving sub bass of “Love Dub”, and the kicked back beauty of “Weekend Fly”, Cooly G comes in strong with her next release on Hyperdub. “Up In My Head” follows in the flow of “Love Dub”. Tender synth stabs open, swiftly followed by the cushioned drums bouncing onto the track. Cooly’s vocals […]

SINGLE: Ikonika – Dckhdbtch

After the brain shaking goodness of “Contact, Love, Want, Have”, the genius that is Ikonika steps forth once again with “Dckhdbtch”, the latest release in the Planet Mu series. From her first release to this latest Ikonika never fails to amaze me. The depth bestowed in her tracks both musically and in their engineering is […]

SINGLE: TERROR DANJAH – BRUZIN VIP/ HYSTERIA DOK (ft. TD)

Firing another round in the seemingly unstoppable force of the Hyperdub mega-weapon, Terror Danjah steps up with two powerful stabs of sound. Bruzin VIP sets the pace with a fuel injected shuddering rework of the original. Late 90s gaming sfx hang nicely in the design. Slowly warming then springing into action, energy bursts at the […]

SINGLE: Crystal Castles – Baptism

Baptism not Celestica was the obvious choice of début single from Crystal Castles part deux. It serves up the elements of Crystal Castles we already know and love. Namely, Alice shrieking unforgettably, Morse code verse bleeps that are as hooky as Leatherface‘s larder, and something new in the pounding trance overtones that are more  grievous bodily harm […]

SINGLE: Morcheeba – Even Though Remixes

Only a robot could claim that these made-on-a-coffee-break remixes (almost certainly, with use of a laptop) are capable of arousing emotion. Exhibiting all the range of Belgian duo Mustang’s barely-there reworking to the equally Belgian Surfing Leons’ 8-bit ‘afternoon’ mix, these uninspiring cuts succeed only in the sense of being instantly forgettable. This is no […]

SINGLE: GORILLAZ – ON MELANCHOLY HILL

I’m going to get a lot of flak for this. Right, I know that Damon Albarn is a musical rainman, a rarified walking, talking lump of prodigious talent and anti-establishment cool. I realise that criticising the man is tantamount to drawing cocks on a bible. I also accept that under the guise of Gorillaz he […]

SINGLE: Pendulum – Witchcraft

I reckon it’s fair to say that the various incarnations of Pendulum are arguably so different in style and content that it makes little sense to compare and contrast them. Of course there are core elements that resonate throughout their music, but their evolution from underground drum and bass to radio-friendly beats and guitar thrashery […]

SINGLE: Amadou & Mariam – Africa

Taken from the excellent album Welcome To Mali, released over 18 months ago, it’s hard not to be cynical about the timing of this release. I appreciate that Amadou & Mariam played Africa at the 2010 World Cup opening ceremony, but it seems the song’s release so long after the album’s release is something of […]

SINGLE: Orphan Boy – Pop Song

What exactly is an A&R and what exactly do they do? Apparently, A&R stands for Artists and Repertoire, and is the division of a record label that is responsible for talent scouting and overseeing the artistic development of recording artists. It also acts as a liaison between artists and the record label. Sounds like a pretty cool job […]

SINGLE: Oriol – Coconut Coast

Keeping them coming thick and fast, Planet Mu shoots out the next bright star into the sky, Oriol. Real name Oriol Singhji, this latest addition to the planet Mu team originated from Barcelona and now resides between London and Cambridge. This EP sees his debut on the late, propped up firmly by reworks of Faulty […]

SINGLE: CROCODILES – SLEEP FOREVER

Leave your wetsuit at home, but do remember your Ray-Bans. Hailing from San Diego, Crocodiles are explorers of the darker side of Californian life. In the moody ‘Sleep Forever’, Brandon Welchez and Charles Rowell layer reverberating vocals over jagged synth to fashion a piece of retro-while-contemporary noise-pop. Elsewhere in their catalogue nods to post-punk abound, […]

SINGLE: Harper Simon – Wishes and Stars

Missing the obvious I was going to write, “Harper Simon is a fine musician who sounds a lot like Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel”, when I read the press release and sure enough: he is Paul Simon’s son. Like father like son. I know children want to plough their own furrows, usually in the opposite […]

SINGLE: Ólöf Arnalds – Innundir Skinni

I know that the current abiding image of Iceland is that of a country with no national bank, and an unpronounceable volcano intent on ruining our travel plans (I was in the US at the time and sadly it didn’t strand me there). But ever since a younger manifestation of myself became obsessed with “Agaetis […]

SINGLE: LADY GAGA – ALEJANDRO

It is difficult to believe that it is less than two years since the driven, eccentric Lady Gaga became an international force, such is the power she currently enjoys in the world of pop. Gaga fever looks set to continue this summer with the release of ‘Alejandro’, drawn from her repackaged double album The Fame. […]

SINGLE: Kele – Tenderoni

It will be of no surprise to you that Bloc Party’s whining crooner has come out as a song and dance man with this debut single from forthcoming album “The Boxer”. Freed from the shackles of his behemoth band, Kele is expressing himself just as you would expect given the popularity of “Flux” – a […]

SINGLE: Ill Blu – Bellion/Dragon Pop

A debut release from Ill Blu on the all powerful Hyperdub, feeding us more funky sounds as the UK Funky Monster continues to snowball into oblivion. With only two years under their belt, these guys have managed to make their mark through remixes of the likes of Hot Chip and Cheryl “won’t tell anybody” Cole. […]

SINGLE: Delphic – Counterpoint

Though it’s already starting to sound tired, the crossover from guitar-based indie to new rave to outright electro pop has been a joyous thing. It seems that few will benefit more greatly from this change than Delphic, who has achieved that rare thing which requires a large amount of skill and luck working in combination. […]

SINGLE: Moulettes – Horses For Hearses

Debt Records are stirring up some serious shit – that was my conclusion from their open night a few months back. An exciting label I had only seen peripherally, took centre stage (literally and metaphorically) with a stalk and a walk that left an indelible impression on my psyche. But these guys are performance artists, […]

SINGLE: Run Toto Run – Hater

I picked this CD out as the one that was likely to be the worst single release this week. Any band tipped as one of XFM’s top 20 artists to watch in 2010 is likely to be shit. Just check out their list of the greatest songs of all time. Here are the top 5 as voted […]

SINGLE: Morcheeba – Even Though

Morcheeba’s latest single, “Even Though”, sees the original three back together with Skye Edwards joining Paul & Ross Godfrey for their seventh studio album “Blood Like Lemon”. This latest single stands as a prelude to the album which is out on the 7th June. In my eyes, seeing these three back together is a return […]

SINGLE: Lethal Bizzle – Go Go Go

Utilising the attributes of the genre and applying the fundamentals of the latest main stream trends, Lethal Bizzle’s last album showed a clever approach to Grime. The success of tracks like “Look What You Done” featuring Kate Nash & “Boy” featuring Babyshambles, proved his formula, and more importantly that Maxwell Ansah aka Lethal Bizzle, wasn’t […]

SINGLE: Eighties Matchbox B-line Disaster – Love Turns to Hate b/w Sushwep

On ‘Love Turns To Hate’, TEMBD could be describing their relationships with old record labels, ex-band members, ex-fans, ex-girlfriends, the weekly music inkies who dismissed them after their first LP, the end is listless. BUT, you should LOVE them. Why?,  because of their dogged determination to continue mining the dark, twisted depths of your soul, […]

SINGLE: The National – Bloodbuzz Ohio

‘Bloodbuzz Ohio’ is the first single to be taken from The National’s eagerly anticipated fifth album ‘High Violet’. The track begins with the stuttering drum patterns of Bryan Devendorf amongst a haze of atmospheric orchestration, of which fans of the bands previous album ‘Boxer’ will be familiar with. Before long the key ingredient to The […]

SINGLE: Quarta 330 & L.V. – Hylo / Suzuran (LV & Quarta 330 remix)

Hyberdub pulls together two of the label locals on its thirty fourth release. 8 bit abstraction of the highest order from Tokoyo’s Quarta 330 combined with the melodic and shuffling rhythms of L.V. to give you this latest insight into sound. “Hylo” rocks the 8 bit crunch reined in by lush chords, splattered drum work […]

SINGLE: Ariel Pink – Haunted Graffiti

The people who Rule Britannia go to Eton. The people who Rule The World go to Institut Le Rosney. But the people who really matter – such as Oscar-winners Nicholas Cage and Richard Dreyfus, Emmy-winners Lenny Kravitz and André Previn, and Fellator-in-Chief Monica Lewisnky – are past pupils of Beverly Hills High School. When Ariel Pink was a student of […]

SINGLE: Rudi Zygadlo – Resealable Friendship

It maybe a cold and sometimes unforgiving place, but Scotland’s musical endeavors have been a blessing of late. One look at the Lucky Me rota and we’re blinded by the gems glistening up in the highlands. Planet Mu’s latest signing Rudi Zygadlo seems to be the next addition to the list. This Glaswegian musician makes […]

SINGLE: Ikonika – Idiot /Altered Natives Remix

Ikonika – Idiot - Altered Natives Remix

Hyperdub’s first lady Ikonika steps forward with the first in a series of 12”s featuring tracks from her forthcoming album and remixes by some of the best producers around. April’s release sees “Idiot” drop, backed with a remix from Altered Natives. With the full album “Contact, Love, Want, Have” out on Hyperdub on the 6th […]

SINGLE: THE HORNBLOWER BROTHERS – GIVE & RECEIVERS/GHOST OF KEROUAC

Damn, blast and bother! The Hornblower Brothers have gone and given me a bit of a dilemma (no not one of those cars similar to a Jaguar, although that would be nice). I have a playlist on my Ipod for my walk to work every morning and there is only one rule, and that rule […]

SINGLE: Rossi B & Luca ft. Killa P – E10 Riddim

Rossi B & Luca ft. Killa P – E10 Riddim

UK Funky meets Grime in this explosive dance floor track. Planet Mu switches direction with its latest release, blowing a hole in the dance floor, and standing proud for its biggest triumph of 2010 yet. This, a label debut from Rossi B & Luca “E10 b/w Police Ar Come Run”, features the powerful locals of […]

SINGLE REVIEW: May 68 – My Ways

still2

May 68 refers to a massive protest movement that occurred in France in May 1968 (of course) that marked a decisive shift towards a more sexually, spiritually, equality driven liberal society. For this Manchester band it’s a decisive statement. Where most modern electro-pop bands look back to New Order for inspiration, May 68 set their […]

SINGLE: The Miserable Rich – Somerhill

The Miserable Rich – Somerhill

Many country bumpkins who have now moved to the city will be familiar with the feeling of one’s first loan stroll about the city.  In a town everyone tends to know each others business but in a city you will rarely find people in the street who have the time for you or your story.  […]

SINGLE: fun. – Walking The Dog/Be Calm

If people throw food at each other for fun, Fun throw genres, styles and influences at each other just for kicks, and because they can. These guys are massively playful and extremely talented. Walking The Dog is a joyful combination of Vampire Weekend, The Beach Boys and Wheezer. However (and it’s a big one), Fun […]

SINGLE: THE SEAL CUB CLUBBING CLUB – MADE OF MAGIC

Formed on the Wirral, the posh side of Merseyside, TSCCC arrive with a new cut from forthcoming album “Royal Variety”. I guess with a title like that we can expect an appearance from the Queen, the cast from a Lloyd-Webber musical, Cliff Richard and a ventriloquist/magician. It would seem none of these appear on this […]

SINGLE: Paloma Faith – Upside Down

Paloma Faith has just released her forth single, entitled ‘Upside Down’ - and I like it! It’s jolly; it’s clever; it’s quirky – a lot like Ms Faith, one suspects. It’s also very catchy, but, then again, so too is syphilis. When it comes to Paloma Faith, the problem isn’t with her music – it’s with the musician […]

SINGLE: The Phenomenal Handclap Band – Baby

Some music defies description. Imagine listening to ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ when it was released in June 1967! Imagine being in Vienna’s Kärntnertortheater on 7 May 1824 for the premiere of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, conducted by the Maestro himself! Imagine a 1943 night flight over a glowing Dresden in a fully laden Lancaster with […]

SINGLE: Kyle Hall – Kaychunk/You Know What I Feel

Detroit based Kyle Hall makes his debut appearance on the mighty Hyperdub. Signed up from a remix of Darkstar’s phenomenal Aidy’s Girl Is A Computer (the original is one of my all time favourites), his remix saw a track take on a House style approach, and most importantly bring him into the Hyperdub spotlight and […]

SINGLE: First Aid Kit – I Met Up With The King

First Aid Kit state on their Myspace page, “We aim for the hearts, not the charts”. A hackneyed statement definitely, but judging by the strength of this single their aim is true. This is unlikely to trouble the charts – though folk does seem to be going through something of a renaissance. And I doubt […]

SINGLE: Officer Kicks – Automatic

I’ve developed a knack for telling how good a release is by the style of the cover artwork. The most obvious thing about the Officer Kicks single, other than the band’s stupid name, is the Libertines typeface. My guess, therefore, is that this band is a rocky Libertines rip off, all effort put into the attitude […]

SINGLE: Sound of Guns – Alcatraz

Sound of Guns have been touring with Adam Green prior to the release of their new single, Alcatraz.  Though they were talented musicians when they visited Club Academy in Manchester last month, they never got the crowd going in the way Green did. This was because, unlike Green, they couldn’t help but take themselves too seriously, and […]

SINGLE: Goldfrapp – Rocket

After being widely maligned since its beheading, the 80s is now back. 2008 saw Neon Neon release their blinding album Stainless Style. It allowed us to revel in 80s power pop once again, with the added incentive that you could like it without shame because of its semi-ironic nature. If challenged you could shrug it […]

SINGLE: Noisia – Machine Gun

Upon hearing Machine Gun my initial reaction was one of mirth. I looked at my friend, he looked at me, and we both laughed. A few listens later and I’m less certain. Is this ridiculously good or just ridiculous? The dirty drum and bass intro I like, but the drop into a sort of electro-metal […]

SINGLE: Angus and Julia Stone – And The Boys

To begin I’d like to resort to basic national stereotypes. Australians are not renowned for their subtlety. They produce bands like AC/DC and Men at Work. Their national monument is a giant rock. Their drink of choice is the delicately brewed XXXX lager, and their film stars spend their time displaying their larger-than-yours knives. So […]

SINGLE: Two Door Cinema Club – Undercover Martyn

Every now and again I go through the releases I haven’t had a chance to listen to, just in case I’ve missed something. Undercover Martyn is just such a release. Now, I’m not a massive fan of indie. The vast majority of releases sent to me, especially in 2008, were by God-awful Libertines clones that […]

SINGLE: Table – Songs You Can Sing

Table is not a particularly autoerotic name, but “Songs You Can Sing” is a small little gem of a song – not one turn to turn you on perhaps, but one that will squeeze deep pangs of emotion from the hardest heart. Hailing from Manchester, the guitarist plays in another very good act named Petty […]

SINGLE: Errors – A Rumour In Africa

As one listens to A Rumour In Africa, it is not the coming world cup, the political turmoil within, or the vast plains of the African nations which come to mind.  What one thinks of is jumping out of an aeroplane in Australia or New Zealand or some other god awful backpacker occupied island. Not, […]

SINGLE: Motion Picture Soundtrack – Glass Figures

Rewind 7 years and Glass Figures would be the shit, the cutting edge bollocks to inspire a generation of teenagers. Fast forward 7 years and this slickly produced car crash, which sounds like a rehash of early Bloc Party and Interpol combined, becomes an anachronistic plastic balls up, out of time and out of place. […]

SINGLE: Daisy Dares You – Number One Enemy

Daisy Dares You – Number One Enemy

Daisy Dares You is the nom de plume of 16 year old Daisy Coburn, a girl fresh from the badlands of Essex. Incidentally the name is taken from a 90s ITV television programme called ZZZap! which was aimed at deaf children. A cruel person would say that her music will attract the same audience. It […]

SINGLE: Creed – Rain

Although I pencilled in: ’2pm, listen to rubbish cheesy AOR [Adult Oriented Rock] song; 2:05pm write scathing review’, I’ll be darned if I don’t like this song from start to finish. On first listen it’s energetic, fresh sounding and easy on the ear. Lead singer Scott Stapp has the ‘Eddie Vedder vocal cheesifier’ turned up […]

SINGLE: The Big Pink – Velvet

This track so nearly passed me by. I don’t listen to the radio much, I barely watch TV (which ignoring The World Service both so rarely broadcast something of interest), but luckily the night staff at my day job left a music channel running and I happened upon Velvet. You may already know the arrogant […]

SINGLE: Placebo – Bright Lights

Since I last heard Placebo, Brian Molko has been to the Des’Ree school of lyric writing and may have read two entire books. I find the lyrics of ‘Bright Lights’ to be nothing short of atrocious. His voice sounds like a parody of its former self, with little power or emotion, and the song relies […]

SINGLE: Far – Pony

If you’ve ever thought that no one could be so preposterously immature as to actually write a song like Lick My Love Pump, think again. Ginuwine wrote a song called Pony, which features the following lines (please note that these words are delivered without the slightest hint of irony): If you’re horny, Let’s do it […]

SINGLE: Marina & The Diamonds – Hollywood

Can Marina and those flawless Diamonds make it 4 perfect single releases? The answer is actually and surprisingly no. While Hollywood has those same eccentricities that has seen the British press roll around suppliantly on its back, the basic song writing just isn’t there this time. It’s a stumble that hasn’t dampened my excitement at […]

SINGLE: DVA – Natty/Ganja

DVA – Natty. Ganja

I’d go so far to say, Hyperdub is one of my top labels of all time, alongside Moving Shadows, Offkey Recordings, Tempa and a handful more. It’s a label that to me truly pushes boundaries, and isn’t afraid to bring you something new. To clarify, by new I don’t just mean a new artist, I […]

SINGLE: Musée Méchanique – Like Home

Three small, stupidly juxtaposed words used in connection with Musée Méchanique sent my blood pressure soaring with near fatal consequence. They are Neutral Milk Hotel – the finest band with the stupidest name of all time. Is this an appropriate comparison, or were the promoters raising my hopes only to dash them with crushing force? […]

SINGLE: Quail Lungs – Dumb Dadadum

In a recent interview, Travis Bonilla, pseudonym Quail Lungs, tells of a New Year bender which left him with a two day hangover not even weed could cure.  From the quality of the recordings which range from near inaudible to a whining assault on your senses you figure these tracks were made the wrong end of […]

SINGLE: Ash – Space Shot

‘Space Shot’ is another by-the-numbers offering from the Northern Irish pop-rockers. A perfect pop song in many respects, it never deviates from the tried and trusted production values that dominate the singles chart nowadays: quirky intro, verse-chorus-verse, weird synth solo and all the trimmings. It also sounds like it was written by a computer program […]

SINGLE: Othello Woolf – Stand

Othello Woolf – Stand

A funky little disco tune, Stand, is a tricky little track which urges us repeatedly to Stand Up for our minds.  It sounds like a meaningless but pleasantly familiar lyric ideal for dancing; but as the song ends you realise Woolf was issuing an early warning to us to beware of a tune which leaves you […]

SINGLE: Bullion – Say Goodbye To What/Crazy Over You

Bullion – Say Goodbye To What. Crazy Over You

Bullion is a genius. I whole heartedly state this. This release was my first encounter with the man and after doing some research, he is now elevated to god status in my eyes. His production style is phenomenal, his beats are some of the crispest I’ve heard, and his tracks spit in the face of […]

SINGLE: Paolo Nutini – 10/10

For some reason that now escapes me I had already decided that I hated Paolo Nutini even before I put 10/10 in the stereo. I was even more cynical about him when my chef friend Ryan, who listens to shit radio-friendly house all day, assured me that “it’s mint that”. But what do you know, […]

SINGLE: Good Shoes – Under Control

Good Shoes – Under Control

Sorry guys, I’m confused. The plastic envelope tells me that this is the single Under Control by Good Shoes, but my iTunes player assures me that this is the album American Idiot by the Bee Gees. Now I’m sure you’ll be thinking that this is just another case of iTune inaccuracy, but I actually believe […]

SINGLE: Owl City – Fireflies

Owl City – Fireflies

I thought I’d better review this, because I’ve just heard that some kid called Owl City has hit the number one spot by imitating a boy drowning with a vocoder rammed down his throat. Now I don’t really give a shit about what’s at number 1, but at the same time I’m supposed to be […]

SINGLE: Simian Mobile Disco feat Beth Ditto – Cruel Intentions

Simian Mobile Disco feat Beth Ditto – Cruel Intentions

James Ford has been responsible for shaping some of the biggest British albums of the past few years producing Florence, Klaxons and Arctic Monkeys.  And alongside former Simian bandmate and Mobile Disco partner Jas Shaw he almost caused a renaissance of mainstream dance music in 2007 with ‘Attack Delay Sustain Release’ and their Justice collaboration […]

SINGLE: Broken Bells – The High Road

broken bells

For those of you not in the loop, Broken Bells is one of those surprising dream collaborations you could neither hope for nor expect. James Mercer of The Shins and Danger Mouse, legendary producer of The Grey Album, Gnarls Barkley etc, have teamed up to put the rest of us mere mortals in our place, […]

SINGLE: DJ Hell featuring Bryan Ferry – U Can Dance

DJ Hell feat Bryan Ferry – U Can Dance

The latest release from Gigolo Records “U Can Dance” brings together two kings of different castles: Hell, a world renowned DJ/Producer and one of the pioneers of the Electroclash sound to recently emerge out of Berlin, and Bryan Ferry, seventies pop star and the lead singer of “Roxy Music”. Originally, Hell set out to rework […]

SINGLE: Patrick Wolf – Damaris

patrick wolf

I can safely predict that there will be very few singles released this year titled after a first century ecclesiastical heroine.  For those who skipped RE in school, Damaris was a wealthy Athenian who converted after watching a sermon delivered by Paul of Tarsus in front of the Areopagus.  Her conversion was seen as important […]

SINGLE: DEPECHE MODE – FRAGILE TENSION

I was slightly pessimistic about the prospect of Depeche Mode’s new tune. Recently there has been a mass of long-running bands releasing disappointing new music. Bands such as Muse, The Cure, and Bruce Springsteen to name a few, and I thought Fragile Tension would fall straight into this category…but it doesn’t! They have created something […]

SINGLE: Paloma Faith – Do You Want The Truth or Something Beautiful

Do You Want The Truth or Something Beautiful

Paloma Faith produces a very contemporary, familiar sound continuing in the long line of recent soulful singer songwriters like Adele and Duffy. But what sets Paloma Faith apart and above her peers is her voice. It’s an incredible cross between Amy Winehouse, Joanna Newsom, and Beth Gibbons and sets a strongly atmospheric tone for her […]

SINGLE: Primary 1 & Riton – Radiate

Primary 1 & Riton

Radiate separates my split personalities into two warring acrimonious factions. The sci-fi geek in me loves the laser battle breakdown, the android singer and the bouncy retro synth beats. But the snob in me is repulsed by the chavy pop-dance sensibilities that underpin the whole affair…and the Star Trek lover. What wins through though is […]

SINGLE: Rob Thomas – Someday

Rob Thomas has the same vibe as Maroon 5. He’s trying to come across as a respected member of the creative community, but underneath lies the evil, robotic heart of another X Factor contestant. Singing with an overly-emotive yet unconvincing vibrato voice, and trading in all the most ubiquitous romantic clichés, he turns the epic […]

SINGLE: Richard Hawley – Open Up Your Door

There’s something strange about the appeal of Richard Hawley. I mean, if he were born in a different time you’d expect it to be the kind of music your dad or grandfather would play when he wanted you to know how he seduced your mother or grandmother. It’s kind of wrong. But he’s playing it […]

SINGLE: Alberta Cross – Taking Control

Treacherous band Alberta Cross hails from London but jumped our sinking island to go to New York and get famous. It seems to be working out for them as ‘Taking Control’, first single from debut album Broken Side of Time, is a bit of a treat. It’s bluesy, gushing indie squirting from the vein of […]

SINGLE REVIEWS: Marina and the Diamonds – Mowgli’s Road

Let’s get this straight. Marina sounds like the demented offspring of Siouxsie Sioux and Kate Bush, both insane and insanely talented. Mowgli’s Road might be the first track released since her signing to major label Atlantic  Records, but you’ll be happy to know there’s no sense that she’s toned down the many demented aspects of […]

SINGLE: Tanja Maritsa – Live For Today

Tanja Maritsa’s gentile, jazzy folk comes from a time that I just can’t quite place. Before the 60s my knowledge gets a little hazy. Not my fault! I’m only 25 and I was brainwashed from an early age to believe that The Beatles were year zero, and nearly everything that came before was rendered redundant […]

SINGLE: Delphic – Doubt

Delphic – Doubt

The de-balled prisoner in The Tower of London (the BBC) has named Delphic in the BBC Sound of 2010 Longlist.  It’s a highly credible choice. By replacing the guitar with the synth (and hopefully the keytar) they have the sound of a band preparing to shoot themselves into the future by rehashing and splicing together […]