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We must by now have reviewed a whole 1% of the truckloads of demo's arriving at the virtual OT Mansions. These are mostly written by our grim north correspondent Captain Vino. RF spent much of October and November 2006 previewing bands from MySpace: if he saw them live and thought he'd cracked it, then they're here.

The list is alphabetical by band name. Ignoring the definite article.

Click the Future Gigs button on the left to find out when they're on.

All reviews of live gigs no longer on this page can be found at AtoZ of Reviews.



Action Plan

"The Punishment of Action Plan"

CD                                                        demo                   2004

OT has often commented that I need to take a more measured and neutral approach to the reviews I write, probably to stop him getting beaten up by irate band members.  I'm going to completely ignore his advice because this is absolutely bloody awful.  This 3 track CD opens with Marching for Phrenology, a title that could be used in a linguistic text-book as an example of a sentence that is gramatically correct but semantically meaningless. The song itself has the singer waling repeatedly about his beloved who is going to be dead soon over music that would make a dirge seem lively.  By the time I got to the - equally dubiously titled - the Future of Circles I'd had enough: I mean I don't get paid for this.

                                                                                  Author: CV

[Ed's note: We likes 'em down in London - check the live review, download music at: http://www.karmadownload.com/]
                                                                                               


Akira

"Insert. Repeat. Roll over. Sleep."

2-track CD                                            demo                   2005

A three piece formed in Cambridge but - like so many - washed up on the shores of London.  After some initial hesitation I’ve decided I like this one.  More of a contemplative late-night listen on the headphones despite the exhortation to play at maximum volume.  This puts me in mind of This Heat or to a certain extent My Bloody Valentine.  Worth seeing live if just to see if it is better really loud.

                                                                                  Author: CV

[Ed's note: live review at A to H]



The Articles

"Olinda Road"

3-track CD                                            demo                   2005

Political punk/funk/ska thing going on here, the Articles are definitely the finished article (sorry), amazing for a band only formed in 2004.  To my mind they’re more redskins than RHCP, especially with some really nifty trumpet playing going on. This is one that would really help banish those workday blues, check them out live if you can.

                                                                                  Author: CV

[Ed's note: available to download from: http://www.thearticles.net/]



The Battles of Winter

"Early Skirmishes"

3 Track CD                                           demo                   2004

The Battles of Winter have started their early skirmishes but we hope they lose the battle, this CD just compels you to find something else to play.  The songs are way too long and plod along like a horse that's gone lame, the singer's out-of-tune vocals go from unispiring to annoying.  On the up side they do have some smart lyrics "I am innocent of the crimes that I have committed" being one of the better attempts.  Oh and I liked the cover art.

                                                                                  Author: CV

[Ed's note: and there's me describing them as "one of the finest shoe-gazing bands to play at the Bull and Gate"]



The Bexleys

"4 songs"

4 track CD                                            demo                   2005

Bit of a "quiet is the new loud" thing going on here.  As a demo the quality ain't too bad and the singer's voice comes across loud and clear.  The problem is I'm not sure that is a good thing as it means the lyrics can be heard.  Lines like "when you're late for school and the wind is cruel" and "All the things I have learnt from you, all the streetlights I never knew" really make me cringe.  I don't know how old the boys in the Bexleys are (and I'm sure they're all boys), and if they're 17 years old I apologize in advance, but this really is worst sort of schoolboy poetry going.  Which is a shame really because the music is pleasant enough and certainly shows some potential.  Go and see them if you can have a few beers, blunt your more critical faculties and let the music flow over you: you might find yourselves enjoying it.

                                                                                  Author: CV

[Ed's note: Well, I don't really remember them, I first saw them mid-2004. But I decided to listen to this. The lyrics are patchy, but "we'll find a new silhouette soon" floats my boat. And my notes say "they're too old to be writing about adolescent shyness", so bairns they ain't. There's a Beatles meets Supertramp feel about this that's summery, fun, and occasionally wistful.  No, damn it, I LIKE THIS.]



Black Black

MySpace                                                                    Nov 2006

Trippy rug-cutters, they should be called psychedelic black. These are spookily irresistible grooves, a churning thrum that borrows from Velvet Underground, Joy Division and Josef K.

                                                                                Author: Pops

[Ed's note: Gorgeously mad sounds at http://www.myspace.com/blackblacklondon]



Blacklines

"The Final Stand EP"

3 track CD                                            demo                   2004

Prog Rock with teen angst lyrics.  Of course it’s not anathema to like prog rock these days, even for a curmudgeonly old bastard like myself and this is rather good.  We Go so soon to Our Tombs drifts slowly in on a wave of feedback and shimmering cymbals before launching into a lengthy guitar riff but don’t let that put you off, when it gets going it’s a real toe tapper.  I came here to say goodbye, All acoustic guitars and chiming arpeggios to start with before letting rip then back to the acoustic guitars, singers voice sounds a bit weedy on this one.  Hell hath no fury if we are the jury, do I detect a pattern here?  Quiet, loud, quiet, loud, pleasant enough to listen to but I think that stretched over an album this could get tedious without a change in dynamics.

                                                                                  Author: CV

[Ed's note: A much punchier sound live I reckon - see A-H]



BlackLines

"In Purgatory"

5-track CD                                        from band                2005

It's obvious but I'm going to say it - I was in purgatory too.  It's not that it's awful, just dull and slightly self-obsessed, if you're going to do a song called "the Circus of Death" especially in French, then you really have to be really over-the-top gothic or tongue in cheek, like the Human League were when they did a song called circus of death.  High point of this "opus" is on All My Words when the telephone is ringing in the background and you just know that this is being recorded in the bedroom, probably with the curtains closed.

                                                                                  Author: CV

[Ed's note: Well, I thought the first couple of tracks sounded like the atmospheric deep-breathing of Aussie veteran post-punks The Church. Then I got bored. BlackLines have now left Purgatory.]



Steve Bland

"Songs to Make You Fall in Love With Me"

CD, 6 tracks Steve's own, but too nicely packaged for a demo                                                   2006

Pared down singer songwriter hits the right notes. On 'I love my i-pod' Steve Bland shows how savvy he is with modern technology and it's inherent dangers when listening to his i-pod gets him run over by a bus, still if you listen to 50 Cent AND Elton John then you probably deserve it.  Young Mr Bland (he's just eighteen) shows he is capable of penning a clever lyric in the mould of Ben Folds, something that people can take or leave but which has done things for me since I developed on on-going infatuation with the output of a certain Andy Partridge that has lasted down the years. That these lyrics are coupled with a decent voice and fairly minimal, but well constructed, tunes bode well for Steve maturing into a talent some style and possibly significance.  Just one thing Steve, Bob Dylan is still alive in the big wide world and not just in Luxembourg.

                                                                                 Author: MH

[Ed's note: His live show at the Buffalo Bar in spring, with full Ben Folds type outfit, was quite magnificent - check out www.myspace.com/stevebisgood]



The Bleeding Hearts

"you bring me to my knees"

2-track CD                               Mother Tongue Moth 9       March 2006

I don't think anyone who comes across a band with a name like the Bleeding Hearts will be surprised to learn that they produce twee indie pop.  Saying that, it is well crafted, tuneful twee indie pop. The "b side", "out of time, out of mind" is replete with (synthesized) strings that manage to steer clear of sounding sacharine.  If you like Belle & Sebastian check them out, if you think Stuart Murdoch should be fed to a meat grinder then stay well clear.

                                                                                  Author: CV

[Ed's note: These apparently are not the German Bleeding Hearts, and the record company seems to be suggesting they are real strings, or samples anyway. Record label is at: http://www.mothertongue.tv/]



Brenda

MySpace                                                                    Oct 2006

Nightmare-sequence post-rock - with beseeching vocal moans, jerking beats and frilly guitar twangs. Brenda gives credit to yourcodenameis:milo, PJ Harvey and Soundgarden, and credit is certainly due. When Brenda goes bump in the night, you want to be there.

                                                                                  Author: RF



The Cherry Reds

"Cry Havoc"

3 track CD                                      sold at shows              2003

I was marking exam scripts whilst listening to the Cherry Reds and in the spirit of that endeavour I’ll give this one a first.  Not only are they named after one of my favourite record labels but they produce literate, engaging music.  Little England fairly bounces along with a catchy tune that almost had me whistling along (I’m a very reserved person).  Future Inc makes me sense some kindred spirits in the Cherry Reds, these days I buy my toilet rolls in bulk so I’ll never have to wipe my arse on the Guardian again.  I’m no A & R man (thank god) but with the Cherry Reds I see a band that may well be ready to make the next step, this is so good I transferred it to my i-pod.

                                                                                  Author: CV



The Class

MySpace                                                                    Oct 2006

Gutsy mod and blues rock sounds, modelled on The Who and The Beatles. I've no idea how they manage to pull it off, but they do. In their previous existence, they were Supersmile.

                                                                                  Author: RF



Cyclones

 

MySpace                                                                    Oct 2006

Psychedlic punks, some would park them with The Pixies, others in the space between Velvet Underground and Sonic Youth. Clever and compelling stuff: "I'll be your lightbulb; throw me out".

                                                                                  Author: RF



Daddy Long Legs

"All That Is Man"

3 track CD                                            demo                   2003

I was always of the opinion that the punk rock revolution was a two-edged sword; on the one hand it swept away the bloated supergroups like ELP and created a space for people with truly innovative ideas about what music can be.  On the other hand it let people who can’t play their instruments properly (hello Mr Bass player) and have no original ideas believe they could form bands and the rest of us should have to listen to them.  I never liked daddy long legs when I was a kid and I guess I still don’t.

                                                                                  Author: CV

[Ed's note: I'm all in favour of lo-fi quirkiness meself - see A-H]



Dorp

MySpace                                                                    Oct 2006

Danced-up and politicised guitar and synth pop. Go see this live and you WILL dance, there's as much energy and charisma as the Prodigy at the top of their game. Pop will eat itself and eat the rich as well.

                                                                                  Author: RF



Drookit Dogs

"Cradle Song - Shut Up - Local Shop - Comedown"

CD, 4 tracks                                 demo, free at gigs           2006

I'm currently staying at OT headquarters so OT was able to tell me that he really likes this and who am I to disagree with him when I'm staying under his roof. Luckily for me there is no need to practice my skills of hypocrisy as they are good.  The mood of the record can be described as swamp blues/southern states gothic (think inbreeding and moonshine rather than bats and eyeliner) and is redolent of 16 Horsepower but with lyrics that are firmly bedded in and urban English milieu - there not being many Dog and Duck's in Alabama.

                                                                                 Author: MH

[Ed's note: check www.drookitdogs.com]



Econoline

"This Band Isn't Funny Anymore"

CD, 11 tracks Independent, at gigs or direct from label                                                    2005

Evidently, the band was very good fun when most of these songs were recorded. And they are songs, lovely little 2 or 3 minute melodies, with quirky titles: "Chicks Dig Scars" - do they now? Yet near the end of their life as a 4-piece, OppositionT reviewed this band as an emo outfit - so Something HEAVY Happened.

There are some Heavy moments on the CD, the feisty screams of "Sex Tips for Losers", the petulant stomp of "No", and the melancholy anthem called "Slate Wiped Clean". But most of this LP is bright and Summery as the Boo Radleys or Ricky Spontane. The Hackett guitar of "Sorbet" just fizzes, yes it does.

Even when Econoline are angry, every song is full of beautifully intricate guitar jangling. Even when they're wistful, there's nothing very much more downbeat than on a Belle and Sebastian record. I just can't stop listening to their indie pop nugget "A Charm Offensive", with its Cocteau Twins strings, its pleading line "And I'm trying to do my best", and its abrupt ending.

I genuinely STILL can't get over how much Ian Scanlon's voice is like Robert Smith's, and a lot of this album would stand up against the Cure's most upbeat efforts on Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me.

Econoline have a launch show as a 4-piece, and then they're back to live shows as a two-piece. With the strength of the tunes, the stripped-down version should be a winner. Meantime, bag yourself one of these beauties, the Econoline album is (couldn't resist it) a bargain.

                                                                                  Author: RF

[Ed's note: Buy it at gigs for about £7, or online for about £8 - www.stupidcat.co.uk]

                                                                                                  


The Elephant Sky

MySpace                                                                    Oct 2006

Cleverly jumbled-up blues rock. Imagine Supertramp's silly falsetto inserted into Beefheart songs, soothed by a mannered folk-balm from Neil Young, and packaged into a 2-minute Husker Du oddpop nugget. Yet they somehow keep reminding you of Bachman-Turner Overdrive.

                                                                                  Author: RF



The Family

MySpace                                                                    Oct 2006

Sozzled cowboy blues with harmony and harmonica aplenty. The Charlatans play Scousepsych. Rawhide!

                                                                                  Author: RF



The Flight Scare

"Song for You; I'll Fall Apart; Before Your Very Eyes"

3 tracks to download              band website and demo CD      2005

Two guitars are definitely better than one...

Before Your Very Eyes: The 3 songs open well with brittle guitars taking the ears back to somewhere in 1979 conjuring pictures of 3 imaginary boys. Vocals are a little mannered but the song fits their slightly angst ridden material and rhythmically this is pretty tight.

I'll Fall Apart: A fuzzy guitar opens confusingly before the spiky guitars return us back to that post-punk pop sound currently so in vogue.  Vocal duties shared give the song a little more light and shade.  The strongest point is definitely the two part guitar lines which lift the song considerably.

Song For You: The track which really brings it all together and gets you thinking this is possibly more than just-another-London-band-you'll-see-around-for-18-months-and-then-no-more.  It's an "our best song" moment an one that might might just get the whole bloc partying.  From the opening it grabs you by the lapels and certainly one song one suspects was written from experience as the vocals seem a little more impassioned.  Due to the strength of the song, the musical interplay of the band seems at its strongest, it's the one they want you to notice.

                                                                                  Author: PR

[Ed's note: download from http://www.theflightscare.com/]
                                                                                                


Four Stories

"Another Day, Everything Flows"

2-track CD                                            demo              unmarked

I don’t know if this was meant to sound like a vinyl record being played with a fluffy needle but it didn’t add anything to a couple of very mundane songs – pass the remote someone.

                                                                                  Author: CV

[Ed's note: Well, I don't remember them]



Foxes!

MySpace                                                                    Nov 2006

Lo-fi jangle pop with sweet Ellis-Bextor vocal and cute girl-boy exchanges. These are wonderfully crunchy sounds breaking occasionally into surf-party rock'n'roll. You can almost see it as a 3-way volley-ball knockout with Velvet Underground, Violent Femmes and Shampoo. I can feel the sand between my toes… oh, hold-up, is that a condom?

                                                                                  Author: RF

[link: http://www.myspace.com/foxesfoxesfoxes]



The Gresham Flyers

MySpace                                                                    Nov 2006

Perfect 1980s sophisticated pop music, Specials, Lloyd Cole, Shakespeare's Sister, Human League. They think of themselves as David Gedge fronting an unruly combination of Sparks and Pulp. Now I've seen them live, I'm thinking more of the Beautiful South, complete with caustic wit. It's not fashionable, but people who enjoy listening to a combination of catchy melody, bouncing rhythm and clever lyrics will rate them very highly indeed.

                                                                                  Author: RF

[link: http://www.myspace.com/thegreshamflyers]



Heat From a Dead Star

"The LightHouse"

CD, 4 tracks                                          demo                   2006

This could be the soundtrack for a quiet apocalypse, understated but emotionally intense. This three piece largely let the music speak for itself on this 4-track e.p.; even when they deign to use words on 'Joan' they are well down in the mix, more of an additional musical texture.  They seem to evoke a whole range of avant-garde/industrial predecessors and contemporaries from Cabaret Voltaire through Sonic Youth to Mogwai without being reduced to parody and always maintaining a distinct identity.  Heat From a Dead Star bear repeated listening, but be careful - you may leave the house and find that the streets are empty.

                                                                                 Author: MH

[Ed's note: www.heatfromadeadstar.com]



Hey Colossus

"Hey Colossus II"

CD album                                  Jonson Family Records        2005

6 songs in 36 minutes. The way it was in 70s rock - except half of 'em were double "concept" albums.

But the sheer weight. A meltdown core of three guitars, chopping chords, endless reverb whistles, and repeated niggly catchphrases. Vocals that suffer, mutter, holler.

So starts the 9 minute emotional hoover of Red Giant. A track that throbs, sneezes and rasps like a vacuum cleaner the size of Centrepoint. A celestial beast of hooky grizzling guitar cycles with agonizing screams and bellows. "I can't feel warm again". "So you have something else to say?".

The 5 then take their Horsehead rampage at highspeed through a scrapheap, starting up lawnmowers, triggering car alarms, exciting Alsatians.

Next comes 12 minutes of psychedelic shoegazing mantra, wherein guitars squeal and squirm. "You win some, you lose some" starts the chant. "You lose some, you lose some" mutates the incantation. Take It rings, chimes and feedbacks to a close.

Vengeance heralds a burst of sludgy ankle-sucking bass.

Raise the Flag is metal-bashing on a war-pig scale. "I love to hate myself, can't sleep with no-one". This seethes directly into the corpse-strewn aftermath of Europa. Here, harmonics of the reverbing guitars beat and grind to the conclusion.

After Hey Colussus II, no other CD is good enough. It gets played here at least once a day. 100 tonnes of addictive substance.

                                                                               Author: RMC

[Ed's note: You need to buy this at: http://www.jonsonfamily.com/]



Herzoga

MySpace                                                                    Nov 2006

Skronky punks from Stoke, they call it wrongpop and say they sound like Wire fighting with Pavement. They do.

                                                                                Author: Pops

[Ed's note: Live, I picked up echoes of Talking Heads and Television - wrong can be right at http://www.myspace.com/herzogaband]
                                                                                                


The Idiot Boy

"Che Guevara, Rise Up, The Acid Test"

3-track CD                                            demo                   2004

Still a bit rough around the edges, but there is potential here.  The guitar break on Che Guevara is just plain messy and the backing vocals on rise up are bloody awful, still providing the guitarist’s ego doesn’t get the better of him and the backing vocalists stick to playing instruments the Idiot Boy may well be worth checking out, well maybe in another 6 months.

                                                                                  Author: CV

[Ed's note: A great live act methinks I to Q]



The Idol Machine

MySpace                                                                    Oct 2006

Achingly beautiful prog-pop from Reading. As broad and grandiose as The Radiohead era of The Bends. And what a clever play-on-words to contemplate if your unoccupied.

                                                                                  Author: RF



Jacksons Warehouse

"3 Day Weekend"

3-track CD        Slippery Groove Productions, available at gigs      2005

Another tasty smorgasbord from Jacksons Warehouse.  On "3 Day Weekend" (an arrangement I can heartily endorse) the singer sounds a bit like Jake Burns on downers over a stomping monster of a song.  The second track "Innocence Lost" slows the pace down to produce a slow burner that grows in stature with repeated listening. "I don’t see it that way" shows that Jacksons Warehouse can cut it on the acoustic front, throwing in some delightful harmonies for good measure.  These boys must be listened to and you can do it from the comfort of your bedroom http://www.jacksonswarehouseband.com

                                                                                  Author: CV

[Ed's note: The good Captain says it's the best thing he's listened to so far, and who am I to argue?  Bugbear have taken them to heart, so look out for gigs at Hope and Anchor/ Dublin Castle. MPs at: http://www.slipperygroove.com/artists.html]



Jacksons Warehouse

"Hotel By The Sea, Never Been Born, Dusk Til Dawn, Caught Outside"

4-track CD                                            demo                   2004

Jacksons Warehouse wish they’d never been born but I’m glad they were.  Don’t worry though it’s only a bout of jealousy for more popular friends, probably not true anymore anyway.  Jacksons’ Warehouse show an ability to mix tempos and moods, which means they’re more likely to last the pace over a whole album than some who’ve been reviewed by yours truly.  Definitely worth checking out.

                                                                                  Author: CV

[Ed's note: RMC is also a fan I to Q]



Denis Jones

MySpace                                                                    Oct 2006

A remarkable chap from Skelmersdale who tugs at your smile and your heart with robust and delicate semi-acoustic guitar ballads. Jones has borrowed the furrowed intensity of Roy Harper and stumbled across Andy Partridge's spare whimsy in a gutter-blown brown-paper bag. Forget blunt dross, Jones' poetry comes from the charmed world of Kevin Hewick. Dress code: clogs.

                                                                                  Author: RF



The Khe Sanh Approach

MySpace                                                                    Nov 2006

"Strangely orthodox electronic No Wave... a Metal Urbain-style robo-quartet of shamateurs with great dodgy pseudonyms, ultragoth John McGeoch-ramalama fuzzsaw guitars and facile chanted Half-Man Half-Biscuit vocals. Nice." - Julian Cope [spot on, except they're a quintet]

                                                                                  Author: RF

[link: http://www.myspace.com/thekhesanhapproach]



Kid and Conundrum

MySpace                                                                    Nov 2006

Intelligent indie musicians playing summery popsongs that feel as though they should be wafting along the Champs-Elysees. It's the light harmonies, the wandering lead guitar, the casual strumming and the keyboard's accordian voice that do it. K&C have rediscovered the lost art of lyric-writing: "He made you peculiar, his own beloved disaster". Will the real Lloyd Cole please stand up?

                                                                                Author: Pops

[Ed's note: their live show is as good as the MySpace material too, listen at http://www.myspace.com/kidandconundrum]

                                                                                                 


King Rat

MySpace                                                                    Oct 2006

A brave band that professes to play prog-rock and listen to Marillion. This is music of dreamy intricacy and spiritual significance for those whose brains are adrift on a fog of incense.

                                                                                  Author: RF



Lexlucian

MySpace                                                                    Nov 2006

Psychedelic power trio aiming at a sound like Nirvana on acid (weren't they?), Pink Floyd and Sting. They've succeeded.

                                                                                  Author: RF

[link: http://www.myspace.com/lexlucian1]



Masters of Disguise

MySpace                                                                    Oct 2006

Beautifully moondrenched pop-music that winks at you as it floats by on a magic carpet. These truly adventurous individuals are spending next February on tour in Greece. Anyone who lists Super Furry Animals and Sparklehorse amongst their influences is thinking outside the box, and should be encouraged.

                                                                                  Author: RF



Metzanine

MySpace                                                                    Oct 2006

Kaledioscopic world-groove with rock guitars. Metzanine's scary array of influences includes Massive Attack, Afro Celt Sound System and Metallica (just for the sheer scale of it). They use an overflowing stageload of band members to create a full sound that's edgy and hypnotic in equal measure.

                                                                                  Author: RF



Misterlee

"Night of the Killer Longface"

CD album                                Independent, from artist       2004

This CD came as a welcome antidote to the false bonhomie that prevails over the Christmas period.  Genuinely quirky with an air of darkness, not the pretend darkness of those who wear too much eyeliner but something genuinely twisted.  I struggled to work out who Misterlee’s influences are but failed to come up with anything definitive, which is a good thing in my book.  If I had to try and explain the music I would say that they shared the spirit, if not the sound, of Stereolab or Can, a band willing to play around with instrumentation and structure to create new aural possibilities, I mean the last time I heard a Jews Harp on a record was Leonard Cohen.  This one will stay in the CD player for a while.

                                                                                  Author: CV

[Ed's note: visit artist - http://www.misterlee.co.uk/  
see also the live review - I to Q]



Monkey Rope

"Heart Attack, Supreme, Beginning"

CD, 3 tracks                                          demo                   2006

I'm sure Monkey Rope have their admirers and this five piece know their instruments (you just know there's a sting in the end of this sentence), it's just that they are so utterly bland.  I tried, I really did, to find something worthy of praise in this three track demo.  Something that hinted that these songs would grow in stature, tunes whose allure was not immediately obvious, a sign that Monkey Rope could mature into something worthy of attention, but alas there is not a shred of evidence present.  After saying that they'll probably go on to be huge.

Of course I could be talking out of my arse, the number of people who regard me as an acknowledged arbiter of what's tasteful musically are vanishingly small. So don't be lazy, make your own mind up www.myspace.com/monkeyrope.

                                                                                 Author: MH

[Ed's note: I can't really disagree, although I saw them live again (June 2007), and they finished off with a more spirited funk groove. Interesting things might be coming up.]



Monster Bastard Project

"Ghost"

CD, 1 track                                           promo                  2007

I think that Monster Bastard Project are trying to operate in the same space as Mogwai or some such.  The first three minutes sounded more like Vini Reilly on mogadon, by seven minutes I was wishing that I was on mogadon, but then I feel that way about Mogwai as well.

                                                                                 Author: MH

[Ed's note: unlike the review, 10 minute tracks need a judicious editing in almost every case]

                                                                                                 


Monsterworks

MySpace                                                                    Nov 2006

Kiwi metal amalgam of death, speed, thrash, black, and ambient-trance varieties. Complex hyperspeed tunecraft. They've strung the cliché sounds together perfectly, and mastered the cartoon stage persona. It could be a piss-take, but it's actually an act of worship. Kneel at the altar of Monsterworks!

                                                                                  Author: RF

[link: http://www.supermetal.net/]



Montana Pete

"Bass Camp"

CD, 5 audio tracks plus 1 video        free from band            2005

A 5 track "maxi" ep and a video to boot!  Montana Pete produce insistent driving music that veers very much into avant territory.  Although they use the standard guitar, bass, drums set-up they do it in a way that manages to convey a freshness that I've not heard in a while.  The songs contain frequent time changes that could sound crap if they weren't handled deftly, proving as well that Montana Pete know how to play, and if they're breaking the rules it's because they want to.  The video is a bonus, simple but effective and definitely not something you'd expect to see on a self-produced CD.  Not to everyone's taste, but if the likes of Pere Ubu ever pushed your buttons this is worth checking out.

                                                                                  Author: CV

[Ed's note: order from www.montanapete.co.uk]



The Mourning After

"Happy endings make you weak"

4-track CD        band's own, available at gigs or download    2006

Would-be miserablists make me happy.  The cover of this record tells you a lot about where TMAs heads are at, walking down a street in the snow, shoulders hunched; another shot that bears some resemblance to a certain Joy Division publicity photo.  The CD finds TMA a bit rough and ready around the edges but make no mistake they are good, my favourite track is what they term the bonus track “Burst the Bubble”.  Don’t take my word for it though, they have lots of tracks to download on their website www.themourningafter.org

                                                                                  Author: CV

[Ed's note: These guys have been to the oppositionT school of stretching the pun until it snaps! Witty endings make me weep.]



The Outside Royalty

MySpace                                                                    Nov 2006

This bunch relocated from the US to Archway in July 2006, and have already been described by The Sun as MySpace stars. They play dramatic cabaret rock with glam and psychedelic elements, aided by lots of violin and cello. This is the soundtrack to an epic adventure.

                                                                                Author: Pops

[Ed's note: Sun screwspaper tells truth shock! Listen at http://www.myspace.com/theoutsideroyalty]



Parade

"You Won't Want To, Friday Night, I Remember An Angel"

3 new demo tracks                    download from website  Jan 2006

Stirred out of my sloth of recent months by evidence that someone has realised that the Artic Monkeys were onto something by letting people download their songs, I wandered over to The Parade's web site to see what they were about.  The trip was worthwhile as the Parade play 60's tinged power pop with some verve.  Of the 3 "proper" songs available, my favourite was "I Remember an Angel" with an acoustic guitar intro that slowly recedes as the lead guitar takes up the stress.  All three songs have quite a different feel to them while managing to clearly demonstrate they're from the same band.  Pount your browser at http://www.the-parade.net and have a listen, after all they are free.

                                                                                  Author: CV

[Note from CV: For those of you who have taken the time to send me CDs over the past few months, sorry they've not been reviewed yet, they will be soon.]
                                                                                                 


Revere

"chloroform ep"

4-track CD                                            demo                   2005

I used to like Revere, but I think this is horrid. I guess they write proficient music, but it's so worn out - the Beatles and Dream Academy through the lens of Coldplay. I see four bands a week doing this.

There's a nice brass sound here and there, probably synthesised, but still it takes me back to Supertramp. Otherwise Revere do what lovelorn Hollyoaks fans seem to want - they drift, they frill, they shimmer. And to prove they mean it, "Not All God's Children" has a well-tortured Thom Yorke vocal. I reckon I might have been able to deal with the final track if there hadn't been three nearly identical ones already.

The most positive thing I can say is that, unlike Coldplay and Travis, they don't play anything that sounds like "Jingle Bells". Also, Revere get their heads in gear to write words: "Oh my, look at the fear in their eyes… All my opinions divide standing here". Esoteric though: "There's blood in the water". Where?

This is not really music, it's a light drone. When you get bored (not long), stick it on double-speed and it sounds breezily 1960s. A hazy shade of wistful. Revere's most important observation: "Daylight's Over Now". Youse guys have been watching too much Keane on MTV. Television's over. We feel no hunger. (Apologies to TV Smith for nicking that line).

                                                                                  Author: RF

[Ed's note: And they said only CV could do a hatchet job. Get your Cold cure at: www.revereonline.co.uk]



Sidecar Kisses

"Wire Stripper"

CD, 2-tracks                                          demo                   2007

OT was told that he'd missed a treat after turning up too late to see Sidecar Kisses earlier this year and on the limited evidence of this single he did.  Melodic guitars and a good line in female/male harmonies had me tapping my toes, it's straight down the middle indie rock but no less deserving of a listen for that.

                                                                                 Author: MH

[Ed's note: check www.myspace.com/sidecarkisses]

                                                                                                 


Sosumi

MySpace                                                                    Oct 2006

Tearful guitar, angsty moans. Grohl #379's heart aches. Then a bike is revved up and accelerates away, sending the cat screeching under a parked car. Still unsatisfied, Grohl #379 moans again. Juddering beats, a progression of lights and shadows, is that an old Rush record? Someone, please save Grohl #379 from whatever. This is emo apparently, and it's rather good provided that you like the colour and the shape of prog rock.

                                                                                  Author: RF

[I finally saw them live on 13 Nov 2007, and they are a mighty heavy beast of a band, an amalgam of Motorhead, Metallica and of course QOTSA]



Stereo Dance Party

MySpace                                                                    Oct 2006

Yelping blues and punkabilly from Planet Woo. Jonathan Richman joins the B52s. This is my idea of fun.

                                                                                  Author: RF



Stevie K Band

MySpace                                                                    Nov 2006

Blues rock with funk and jazz breakouts, a homage to Stevie Ray Vaughan. This music is part of the culture of musicianship and jamming that opened the 1970s, playing that expresses perfectly what it means to be 'chilled'.

                                                                                Author: Pops

[Ed's note: Live, they are classy purveyors of passionate cool - check http://www.myspace.com/steviekband]



Stuffy/The Fuses

"Angels Are Ace"

CD album                                         Independent              2007

Stuffy/The Fuses are similar to Genesis in that they have a singing drummer; thankfully that's where the similarity ends. They follow in a different tradition of literate english rock as seen down the decades from the likes of the Kinks, XTC and Blur - though with a far harder edge musically.

Exotically varied, Angels are Ace starts of with a quiet, melodic instrumental 'the champagne socialists mid term BBQ pt1': the album is bookended with pt2 which features more guitar and a world weary vocal. Instrumentally, the only thing missing seems to be the kitchen sink, it's got strings, brass, even bagpipes on 'joe c (is an idiot)', but the components never come across as anything other than integral to the song and never overwhelm the feel. This sounds great live too, definitely one to check out.

                                                                                 Author: MH

[Ed's note: that's not entirely accurate, Genesis have a singing bumhole. Listen to Stuffy/The Fuses via www.stuffyandthefuses.net and www.myspace.com/stuffythefuses]


These Hands

"These Hands 001"

3 track CD                                            demo                   2004

I was a fan of DIY music way back when, the desperate bicycles, very early Scritti Politti, but this is a mess.  It sounds like it was recorded in a garden shed, in fact the first Marine Girls album was recorded in a garden shed and it sounded better than this.  Rawness and energy shouldn’t be confused with crap sound, oh and it sounds like a thousand bands from the early eighties, I know, I’m showing my age.

                                                                                  Author: CV

[Ed's note: I loved them to bits myself - see R-Z]



Thumpermonkey

"Thumpermonkey Lives!  Chap With The Wings, Five Rounds Rapid"

9-track CD             independent, buy from the band           out 10 Feb 2006

Contrast the name of the band, the album and the song titles and you’d be forgiven for feeling confused.  But hold on to your handles, wait til you hear the thing!

Initial track "When This Record is Played on Mars, Humanity Will Have Ascended to the Godhead" is over before you’ve read the title. It features a slow electronic beat, washed with vocal harmonies and synth squeaks and burbles.  Interesting start, then.

Next move, "Tzitzimime" reminds me of Peter Hammill and is none the worse for it.  Diversity follows: "Not the Motorcycle Diaries" is shoutier Grant Lee Buffalo; "A Loving Mother" begins its journey with a tirade from Bedlam, meets up with Rolf’s Stylophone, and gets finally mugged and strangled by someone’s guitar strings… which leads neatly into the plaintive, lush chords of "Doughboy", a track culminating in a lot of bashing a la early Black Sabbath.  Is the title a tribute to Ozzy?

"Don’t Wake Me" - great harmonies and prominent bass; "Memory Fat" - David Bowie meets Napalm Death (really! – very English); "Melissa Leaves the Wrong Kind of Audit Trail" should be avoided by anyone with a hangover or an aversion to revved engines.  The final track "My Debt to Scientology" features a delicate piano figure that wouldn’t be out of place on a late night jazz station, a soundtrack for wandering the dripping halls of a Bladerunner apartment block.

"Sounds like a bunch of fuckin’ loons dickin’ about" says a passing woman. "Yay!" says I: "Yay for the fuckin’ loons!"  Obscure, and not a little deranged; a startling sonic collage, musically accomplished, and in a little decoupage box that they pasted up all on their own.  Well worth buying.

                                                                     Author: Rescendant

[Ed's note: "Decoupage" is decorating a surface by lacquering over cut-outs - it says so in my dictionary. References to other bands include Melvins, Adam and the Ants and 10cc, sounds good to me. Listen at: http://www.myspace.com/thumpermonkey Buy at: http://www.thumpermonkey.com/music.htm]
                                                                                                


Wry

"Whale and Sharks"

CD, 4-track                                     Club AC30 EP              2007

Competent, if somewhat dull and overly long, shoegazing fare from Wry.  Reminds me of Ride, so if you like that you'll probably like this.

                                                                                 Author: MH

[Ed's note: Wry have been favourites at OT HQ for some years, but then Mark's not staying here anymore to be punished with an endless stream of directionless Ride colourwash]





I will never ever complain again if my songs get bad reviews. I think reviewing singles is the most depressing job in the world. (Elton John)


RMC
April 2008

 
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