Song reviews

  Torment of Martha by Betari’s Box

Torment of Martha cover art

Sheffield electro pop

“Torment of Martha” is a confident and catchy example of the electro pop genre from Sheffield band Betari’s Box. As the band’s name might well suggest to you, it’s all in the attitude and Loretta’s vocal has plenty of that. Like I said, eminently catchy.

  My Heart is a Yoyo by The Tranq

My Heart is a Yoyo cover art

Swedish indie

So determinedly retro that the song seemed more of a pastiche than anything else, “My Heart is a Yoyo” shows Swedish band The Tranq to be purveyors of pretentious pop music just like you used to get when A-Ha meant something musical. Whether that is actually a good thing is open to debate.

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  Bolander by Gunnelpumpers

Bolander cover art

Chords aplenty

With seemingly no particular place to go and enough obvious intelligence and musical ability never to get there, Chicago rock improvisers Gunnelpump take “Bolander” for a walk through the park of virtuosity before taking it home for a herbal tea.  It wasn’t love but it was a promising first date.

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  Good Side by Greta Gaines

Good Side cover art

Smooth songstress

Cool as a cucumber and influenced by that deadly seventies west coast soft rock groove, Greta Gaines stays honey sweet with the vocals throughout "Good Side" whilst intermittently roughing the song up with edgy guitars and barely repressed desire. It’s grown up big town but only if the sun shines in your zip code.  Fortunately the sun always shines here.

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  Tunnels by Lost Ghost

Tunnels cover art

Bleak indie pop

Moody slice of downbeat indie pop from up and coming Scottish band Lost Ghost.  Although "Tunnels" does not stray far from what you would expect of a Scottish indie pop band these days, Gabriella Biazotti’s on the edge of laconic vocal has the necessary appeal to reach the hearts of more than west end beard scratchers.

  Mobile Homes by Banana Beach

Mobile Homes cover art

Quirky indie pop

With wishing to stereotype an entire nation, “Mobile Homes” is exactly what you would expect of a (slightly) quirky Swedish indie pop band. Banana Beach do what is expected of them and – in a meaningful way of course – make their mark.

  The Human Race by Jens Wennberg

The Human Race cover art

Musical volvo

“The Human Race” finds Jens Wennberg up to his usual tricks with acoustic guitars and distant drums leading the song towards the restrained melancholy of his voice. If you liked his previous releases then you will like this one too.

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  The Black Lodge by Jenny Gabrielsson Mare

The Black Lodge cover art

Swedish exotica

You get a whispered intro mentioning Laura Palmer and you get a minimalist swing Badalamenti groove. You get enigmatic lyrics and you get whisper in your ear sensual vocals. “The Black Lodge” is Chris Isaak in a dress only I can (practically) guarantee that Jenny Gabrielsson Mare looks better in a dress than Chris Isaak ever would.  With a bit more reverb, this would be a wicked game.

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  Disappear by Whales in Cubicles

Disappear cover art

Bristol boys

Noisy indie rock from Bristol band Whales in Cubicles, “Disappear” shows them to be a band that operates within the limits of the genre but who remain capable of taking things further. The evidence, as always, is in the lyrics.

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  Working For The Man by Man’s Ruin

Working For The Man cover art

Experimental Scottish folk

Rolling it on down the river are Scottish and Man’s Ruin. They claim to be an experimental folk band but “Working For The Man” is nothing less than toughened up country rock mixed with big city words. All credit to them however for sounding like red meat is their staple diet.

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  Sharpshooter by Hungry Kids of Hungary

Sharpshooter cover art

Indie popsters

Summer must be on its way and Australian indie poppers Hungry Kids of Hungary look set to the official provider of a sunshine song for the season. “Sharpshooter” is nicely edgy in its sonic style and has the all important big chorus to get you singing along. I am feeling the heat already.

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  Headstrong by Elvira Stitt

Headstrong cover art

Glasgow songstress

With the song truly in her heart, Elvira Stitt demonstrates a surprising – especially for one so young -- mastery the of big ballad style with “Headstrong”. She handles the poetic lyrics with poise and feeling which is much more than might reasonably expect of a singer songwriter on the way up. Genuine Glasgow talent and I don’t say that very often.

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