Song reviews

  New Day Rising by Bataleurs

New Day Rising cover art

Wiltshire folk rock

These two songs are easy on the ear with genre prerequisites like jangly stringed instruments, gravelly lead vocals and tight harmonies all present and correct. It is also true that “And It Feels Like” is a bit too generic but “New Day Rising” strikes a blow for the band’s individuality. So much so that I feel the need to check if Wiltshire is actually in the good old USA.

Review date:  January 25 2011

  Envy Verses Pitty by Lloyd Rock

Envy Verses Pitty cover art

Style = a fusion of a self created life

Another sensitive singer songwriter but this time from Liverpool.  Lloyd Rock’s voice suits his intense, melancholic songs well but, in performance terms, both songs are let down by a certain lack of drama. However, these are demos and with a bit of editing – the curiously named “Envy Verses Pitty” aimlessly exceeds 7 minutes! – and a decent (strings, anyone?) arrangement, both songs could do the business for this bedsit troubadour.

Review date:  January 14 2011

  Tatoo by Sean Russell

Tatoo cover art

Singer/songwriter from Texas

Two tasty slices of powerpop from this Texas singer/songwriter that echo the likes of Apples in Stereo or late sixties psych pop, only grunged up a bit. “Tattoo” fits that groove exactly while “Vivian” is rather fluffier  in comparison being closer to the likes of peak period Marshall Crenshaw. I suppose that you could say that Sean Russell keeps to old fashioned values in his music with verses, choruses and melody and that makes perfect sense to me.

Review date:  January 14 2011

  Spanish Robots by Sweet Relief

Spanish Robots cover art

Just here to mess things up a bit

“Spanish Robots” is a bit derivative but at least Sweet Relief sound like they are having fun doing their thing even if, from their performance, I have a suspicion that they used to be a covers band. “Miserable One”, on the other hand, shows more post punk attitude and indeed intelligence than you would expect of a Scottish indie band these days. Not without potential then.

Review date:  January 14 2011

  Higher Love by Anabrese

Higher Love cover art

Hybrid folk pop electronica

Reckon these are the work of a songwriter rather than a singer as the vocals don’t really attempt to stamp character on these songs. Having said that, “Higher Love” drifts by amiably in a laidback folk meets Eurodisco with the brakes on kind of way. Quite sweet and nice really. “Six Steps Away”, on the other hand, sounds like it could be a mainstream hit for the Mariah Carey or Celine Dions of this musical world. It definitely needs some strings though.

Review date:  January 3 2011

  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.

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