Song reviews

  You only understand the understood by Edge of 13

You only understand the understood cover art

Rather polite indie threesome

Edge of 13 hail from the north of England. Not sure if that has any relevance but it seemed worth mentioning. On to the songs and taking “You Only Understand The Understood” first, what you get is an even tempered song that seems earnest and likeable even if it doesn’t go anywhere that hasn’t been visited before. “That Was Us” turned out be a rather more interesting example of upbeat guitar pop with a bit of the Glen Tilbrook about the vocals to add retro interest.  However, both songs are ultimately let down by that lack of musical imagination.

Review date:  December 16 2010

  Leave here by The XBanders

Leave here cover art

Offbeat American powerpop

Nicely matured power pop music à la Maypops here from American band The Xbanders with a bit of psych pop flavouring as icing on the musical cake. “Leave Here” somewhat overstays its welcome but intelligent ears will not be disappointed by “Livin’ In A Movie”.

Review date:  December 16 2010

  Secrets by Sonic Hearts Foundation

Secrets cover art

Not your average Glasgow band

It had to happen eventually - a Glasgow band that doesn’t sound like a Glasgow band! Sonic Hearts Foundation are a four piece band who, on these two songs, eschew the customary indie rock for something with a much darker texture with both “Road To The Devils’ Eyes” and “Secrets” showing the influence of bands like Goodbye Mr Mackenzie (right down to the Martin Metcalfe style guitar) and even The Prodigy. Fortunately, the band are more than just a reflection of someone else's past glories and, whilst they are untidy and rambling at times, there is genuine promise on show.

  About a Girl by My Music Myth

About a Girl cover art

Another sensitive Glasgow singer songwriter

I even remember how this demo fell into my hands. The My Music Myth chap actually handed it to me after telling the audience that the recorded versions of his songs were better than the live renditions. He did not lie although he wasn’t exactly raising the bar very far. “About A Girl” is exactly the kind of song that gives singer songwriters a bad name – it takes 52 seconds to get going and drags it out to over 6 minutes  without the slightest sign of skill or imagination in the lyrical, vocal or guitar departments.  Equally dull is “So Won’t You”. However, the CD was surprisingly aerodynamic and hit the bin on the first try.

Review date:  October 26 2010

  Ball And Chain by cLuMsy

Ball And Chain cover art

Former acoustic outfit cLuMsY go large

Yes, good old fashioned values are on show here (like proper musicianship and a song arrangement) so thumbs up to cLuMsy for that. Of the songs, “Ball and Chain” is distinctly retro like a funky recreation of the Blow Monkeys and Hipsway while  “Wrong Road” betrays a pleasing ska influence. Though the band do plod a bit like a wedding band would, these are only demos so no doubt they will pick up the pace for the finished version. Nicely impassioned male vocals hold the songs together well.

Review date:  October 26 2010

  Forget About It by Kissing Lola

Forget About It cover art

Polished Californian powerpop

I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for the powerpop that seems to hail from the west coast of the good old USA (ahh! – love is the Kimberly Trip!) so it was with open arms that I welcomed Kissing Lola. They hail from Los Angeles but I would indeed have guessed that from the first four bars of “Forget About It” anyway. I have to say that it did sound like the kind of song that would have been on a teen movie soundtrack from twenty years ago but, hey, retro is never out of fashion these days. “1000 years” fortunately stepped to the front as the kind of radio friendly female fronted love song that might live for, well, 1000 years.

Review date:  October 23 2010

  Muzzle by Death By Misadventure

Muzzle cover art

Laidback Glasgow four man sparkled shoegazers

Kind of a hellish hybrid of The Doors and early Nirvana, “Muzzle” is a laconic grunge-athon of a song that lumbers along whilst alternately staring at its own feet and the sky (and shows scant regard for the listener’s attention span while it is at it). A bit of editing and getting the guitarist to throw in a surprise or two should save the day for the finished version though.

  The Calm Song by Modern Olympic

The Calm Song cover art

An Alternative band made up of three 14 year olds

Wouldn’t have pinned these two songs on a trio of 14 year olds as the standard of musicianship is a lot higher than you would expect. Whilst “The Calm Song” rambles along in an over studious math rock  way for over 6 minutes – didn’t think the kids of today had an attention span that long – it betrays a certain lack of adventure more than anything else.  “Reposeful” throws in some vocals that suffer from being styled in the fashion of a trendy independent band. A band with a future? I wouldn't rule that out either.

Review date:  October 20 2010

  The End of the World by Xoch

The End of the World cover art

American singer, songwriter strikes out

She’s an American singer, songwriter, model and actress and the very commercial songs that Xoch submitted to the Bluesbunny demo blood fest were “The End Of The World” and “Winter in Hollywood”. Now this should been a shooting fish in a barrel situation but it wasn’t. Respectable song writing skills are on show here but if you dig beneath the leaden sub Leanne Rhimes production, Xoch actually has an interesting voice and an expressive way with a lyric. Perhaps it is a sign of spending too much time in studios but, underneath all the vocal processing, I can hear an endearingly sweet voice.

Review date:  October 19 2010

  Last Goodbye by Looking For Lola

Last Goodbye cover art

New Glasgow band

“Last Goodbye” is the kind of fragile, reflective song that creeps up on you. There’s not much substance here in this demo – although that’s probably deliberate -with plaintive male and female (by Kat Orr formerly of the sadly defunct Ten To Five Project) vocals sitting angularly atop the sparsest of backings. It’s not an impact song but more the kind of song that finds you when you most need it. Really rather soothing even if there is an appealingly sharp edge to the words.

  Zombie Baby by Iconic Tonic

Zombie Baby cover art

Living and breathing rock ‘n’ roll

From Ohio, these three guys pump out proper rock music that just cries out to be played loud.  “Zombie Baby” would make – unsurprisingly – a nice addition to a grungy B movie soundtrack while “Paramount” shows that the band can go further than mere repetition to make their musical point. Although somewhat lacking in sonic individuality, they do a decent job with these two songs.

Review date:  October 19 2010

  Tired of Being by The Dirty Keys

Tired of Being cover art

An epic piano-led pop/rock band from Glasgow

You can tell when a band has had the benefit of a musical education and The Dirty Keys sound like such a band. Urbane, civilised with the wry demeanour of a fop down on his luck about the vocals, “Tired of Being” gives the old ivories a right good tinkling here. In fact, you could see Noel Coward approving of them making it hard to believe they are from Glasgow.

Review date:  September 27 2010

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