Song reviews

  Somebody Do Something by James Gasson

Somebody Do Something cover art

Brighton backroom boy lays it on the line

James Gasson hails from Brighton and has apparently spent his time behind the drums or a mixing desk. He steps out front with these three songs all of which were self composed and self performed.  Apparently he lives on tea as well. The songs all run up the mainstream but are surprisingly convincing given the solo nature of their construction with “Somebody Do Something” sounding like a quirky take on the Foo Fighters and “It Must Have Been A Dream” going all moody and twisted on us.  All in all, it’s pretty clear that he takes his music seriously even if he did send this demo in an envelope decorated with cat fur.

Review date:  July 25 2010

  6.4578 by Hello Bear

6.4578 cover art

A trio that play quirky indie pop

Three songs that run together and make the band sound like an existential version of Weezer with vague touches of Edwyn Collins about the vocals.  “6.4578” and “An Exquisite Year For Charm” have that angular indie pop sound but “Indulgence” stands out as you can imagine it scaling up to fill a stadium.  The guitars riffs are over familiar throughout but the drummer seems to want to be the hardest working man in show business so maybe it is time for the band to throw away those cardigans and buy some leather jackets instead.

  Hard Times by Soul Circus

Hard Times cover art

Glasgow rock band with a work ethic

Two songs here - “Wreckin’ Machine” and “Hard Times” – that prove to be straight down the line rock music that would prove popular interspersed with covers in any pub in this green and pleasant land on a Saturday night. The singer adds a touch of whiskey to otherwise sober and earnest performances.

  Echo by the Night by Gary Dillon and Liam Tennant

Echo by the Night cover art

This duo head off in another direction

I used to worry that my past would eventually catch up with me and it would seem that Gary Dillon and Liam Tennant have let time catch up with them (although I suspect that they weren’t even born in the time that caught up with them). Both “Echo By The Night” and “Poison Vines” show the influences of twinky plinky analogue electro pop topped with moody, somewhat nasal quasi-American vocals giving the impression of an earnest pub singer trying to make an escape to the big time. Not awful but equally it’s not obvious where these two gentlemen are trying to get to.

Review date:  July 15 2010

  Scenester by The Statler Project

Scenester cover art

Glasgow band that cranks out indie rock

The first two tracks – “Scenester” and “Been In Your Street” – are a bit rough round the edges but show off the band’s brand of intelligently danceable and somewhat frenetic indie rock quite nicely even if the songs themselves are a touch generic. There’s plenty of character in the lead vocals though and I’m sure a better mix would improve things. Oddly enough, a track from an old EP was also supplied. “Plenty” proved to be rather more eclectic and adventurous than the first two songs in a sub Prodigy kind of way.  A case of following too many trends, perhaps?

  9 Rue Git de Couer by Dead Sea Navigators

9 Rue Git de Couer cover art

Piano led indie/lounge band based in London

Pleasingly laconic couple of songs from the Dead Sea Navigators that echo a clean living visit to a late night basement club. Admittedly there’s a fair amount of similarity between “9 Rue Git De Coeur” and “Dr Crellin” and not quite enough gin and cigars to evoke the decadence that the band were probably aiming for but the piano playing hits the mark and is nicely counterpointed by the quirky and dramatic synths.  Not quite Amanda Palmer/Dresden Dolls then, but likeable nonetheless.

Review date:  June 20 2010

  Dark Danceroom Floor by Denham Reed and Rosenthal

Dark Danceroom Floor cover art

Three piece pop group from Cardiff

Bloody hell! Actual songs with melodies!  And from Wales too! “Dark Danceroom Floor” turned out to be classic jaunty pop in the style of John Sebastian meets Glenn Tilbrook and, furthering the pop  music history lesson,  “I’ll make It Right” is English Britpop meets Chinn and Chapman.  All this trio need is a decent song about a girl (well you’ve got to, haven’t you?) and they would be complete. They have and its called “Eliza”. Dr Who is made in Wales these days so that might explain the time travelling influences but, hey, it works!

  A Song by Breaking Of Dawn

A Song cover art

Rock band from Baltimore, Maryland

A bit mean and moody this one even that sounds like it should be a part of the soundtrack to an Argento film from the seventies.  It’s got that kind of European prog rock feel like Goblin would have had back then and, as if to further prove its retro credentials, it’s even got tape hiss.  Assuming the retro feel is deliberate, this sounds more of a homage than a copy and the male lead vocals do a pretty decent of selling the song. I’ve certainly heard a lot worse than this.

Review date:  June 11 2010

  Music Revolution by No Direction Home

Music Revolution cover art

Blues rock band from Illinois

Not so much blues rock as southern rock meets stadium rock. While “Music Revolution” does drag on a bit, I’m still impressed with the confident lead vocals. “This Train” looks backwards in time but is more disciplined and there are welcome hints of Greg Allman in “Meaningless War”. Admittedly, the lead guitarist doesn’t pull out any surprises whatsoever – I reckon that I can guess his influences without breaking sweat – which is a bit of a problem for a rock band, but equally there is no doubting that they have a proper front man in their singer.

Review date:  June 11 2010

  Somebody Up There Likes Me by We Are Jawbone

Somebody Up There Likes Me cover art

Intelligent and dramatic Glasgow rock band

There are plenty of shite rock bands in Glasgow but We Are Jawbone certainly aren’t one of them.  No dumb rehashes of the past here as “Somebody Up There Likes Me” reeks of an intelligent fusion of punk and hard rock infused with that back to the eighties retro feel.  More  reflective and indeed theatrical is “I’m Falling”. Their bio mentions comparisons with the SAHB and for once I’m happy that is a fair one. Think I want to see what they can do live now.  Two thumbs up!

Review date:  June 5 2010

  Don't Go Please Stay by Sunday Morning Service

Don't Go Please Stay cover art

London based trio with mainstream rock ambitions

More demos from Sunday Morning Service. First on is "Don't Go Please Stay" which is a slice of rather pedestrian mid-paced rock guaranteed to bring joy to the hearts of housewives throughout the world. Vocalist Nick Tate then goes a bit Ronan Keating in "Rock" but you can't argue with the confident delivery of this ballad. Altogether dirtier - and giving the band an opportunity to show their rock chops - is "Why Was I Bothered Anyway". Whilst not treading new ground, the band do what they do well.

  Troublesome by John DeRoo

Troublesome cover art

John DeRoo writes folk-blues story-songs

Reckon it must be the sound quality that makes this a demo. John DeRoo does a perfectly decent job on these songs going just a bit over the top – which is good - on “Such A Wrong”.  “Troublesome” adds on the emotional troubles to near breaking point but that’s what folk blues is all about. It would be nice to hear these songs recorded properly.

Review date:  May 22 2010

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