Song reviews

  Darkest of days by Funke and the Two Tone Baby

Darkest of days cover art

Kent-based loop-artist

A sparse bit of blues based from a Kent based loop artist, "Darkest of Days" spins up more in the way of angst and inner torment than you would get from a hundred dreadfully sensitive singer songwriters.  It would appear that his real name is Daniel Turnbull which seems way too ordinary to be the creator of something this special.

  Where the Pebbles grind and scrape by Sheila K Cameron

Where the Pebbles grind and scrape cover art

Torch singer

Got a somewhat vague recollection that Ms Cameron has sought our words (and duly she has – Ed) before. No matter as her mature, world weary and rather ethereal approach to a song pays dividends to the demanding listener. "Where The Pebbles Grind and Scrape" is no less than a poetic torch song and Ms Cameron is no less than a poetic torch singer. It's that simple.

Review date:  July 16 2011

  Dopamine by Heavy Smoke

Dopamine cover art

Glasgow c*nt rockers (apparently)

Sometimes I have to despair at the sheer lack of inventiveness found in hard rock and metal music these days. Then you hear a band like Heavy Smoke and my faith is restored. "Dopamine" swaggers and staggers like a song on a mission to encourage the abuse of any and all legally prohibited substances. Promise is therefore demonstrated and duly acknowledged.

Review date:  July 16 2011

  Broken Clocks by The Beautiful Game

Broken Clocks cover art

Indie rock band from Camden Town

Curiously laidback considering The Beautiful Game call themselves a rock band, "Broken Clocks" seems to have a notable degree of retro reticence built in compared to what many of their competitors in the post Libertines market place have put out in recent times. The song works though, avoids the obvious clichés and Jason Crowley's vocals have the mark of authority. Thumbs up time, I think.

  Unleashed You Spoke by Adam Beckley

Unleashed You Spoke cover art

Birmingham ambience

Another case of a man alone with his sonic textures. Describing his own music as hypnotic seems fair enough as "Unleashed You Spoke" relies heavily on synthetic repetition. Rather more successful is the delicately undulating (and curiously named) "I Take The Form of Your Skeleton". Nonetheless, despite being easy on the ear, Mr Beckley's music seems insufficiently complex compared to European practitioners of ambient electronica like, for example, PNDC or Housework.

Review date:  June 26 2011

  Mr Moon by Sheila K Cameron

Mr Moon cover art

Mature voice in the wilderness

Where did this one come from? The song ("Mr Moon I'mWorking Against Time") is mellow and slickly arranged and Ms Cameron's voice shows genuine poise. Despite my ignorance of her  background, she sounds like she has paid her dues with a bit of the Marianne Faithfull (without the cigarettes and smack, of course) about her phrasing that neatly counterpoints the floating above the ground lyrics of the song.

Review date:  June 11 2011

  Epitaph by Destroy White Baby Dolls

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Glasgow's divas of indie/rock/pop-punk

Hey! A band I have actually heard of for a change! I think I've even said something nice about them in the past (or at least I think I did). Unfortunately, it proved be something of a struggle to think of something nice to say about the leaden and overlong "Epitaph" other than that the Bangles might have used it for a B side.  The band are on much safer ground with "Touch Wood" with some dirty guitar counterpointing those impassioned vocals nicely. Even so, the song would have benefited by being shortened by about 40 seconds.

  Dead beat dad by Shane Smith

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Angry and trapped in Hastings

Voice of disaffected youth with much in the way of affecting words. You can literally feel the anger in "Dead Beat Dad" while "Perfect Kind of Love" is a distinctly disturbing reflection on obsession.  The white boy rap presentation on "Dead Beat Dad" does grate somewhat. However, "Perfect Kind Of Love" uses its lo-fi origins rather more effectively.  I don't know what direction Shane Smith is going to take his music but I think that it might be interesting to find out.

Review date:  May 15 2011

  Care in the Community by These Curious Thoughts

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Modern day rock pen pals

Seems there still are practitioners of soft rock out there with These Curious Thoughts – a transatlantic co-operative – being an example if these two songs are representative. "Care In The Community" sounds like it is part of some high concept album (its Alan Parsons time again!) while "World of Pain" throws in a bit of rather obvious retro riff stealing. The vocals seem just about right for this kind of thing which just might be your kind of thing.

  One Good Reason by Already Gone

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Stoke-on-Trent's hottest new band!

I normally don’t do any research for a demo review but when a little Google bunny told me that singer of Already Gone – one Luke Maskery – had appeared on Stars in Your Eyes as John Denver then I had to wonder if these songs would be a fame driven drive off the bridge of credibility, perhaps into the depths of the indie rock sea. Fortunately however, the rock this band hits is southern rock with bad boy vocals and muscular guitars much to the fore. Of the two songs, “One Good Reason” is quite clearly the radio friendly one with a nice hook but it is the sometimes awkward “Girls I Used To Know” that shows the spark of originality.

  Good morning Glasgow town by The Skunnered

Good morning Glasgow town cover art

Ageing folk rockers from deepest darkest Barrhead

Pub friendly pretty much sums up this band. You can imagine them squeezing in these originals between Deacon Blue and Eagles covers with, I would think, many people of indeterminate age finding post karaoke pleasure in “Good Morning Glasgow Town”. However, despite the dodgy mid Atlantic meets Paisley accent, the wry retro charms of “Wrecking Ball” suggest that a bus pass is not all these ageing folk rockers have to look forward to.

  The Day I Died by Audiodeluxe

The Day I Died cover art

Twice as nice as Cumbernauld

Another case of yesterday is today as this Scottish duo dish up the plastic everything retro cake and top it with scratchy guitar and restrained female vocals.  “The Day I Died” goes nowhere fast and struggles to keep your interest but “You’ve Changed” shows promise although it needs an arrangement rather than just repetition to give it some impact.

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