:: The National
:: Plan B
:: Kill The Captains
:: The Loves
:: Crazy Arm
:: Sound Of Guns
:: Straight Lines
:: Trail :: Chris T-T :: Ali Love :: John Butler Trio :: Die! Chihuahua Die! :: Stimming :: Ben Watt & Julia Biel :: Subsource :: Trademark Signals :: The Boy Who Trapped The Sun :: Falling Red :: Citadels :: SBTRKT :: Sivert Hoyem ::
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Trail – CITY – 2 Trk CD – White Label www.myspace.com/trailmusic
This track is taken from Trail’s impressive self released album. “City” is typical of the stuff you’ll find on their – melodic, powerful, ambitious with an infectious sense of modern rock. Recommended.
Chris T-T – Nintendo – 1 Trk CD – Xtra Mile www.christt.com
Album number seven is on its way and as something of a taster “Nintendo” begins a slow creep into your consciousness. Pianos and big drums build up with horns in this mellow but powerful latter day ballad.
Crazy Arm – STILL TO KEEP – 1 Trk CD - Xtra Mile www.myspace.com/crazyarm
You might say that Crazy Arm sound like Reef on steroids, but there is something about their hard charging mix of post British EMO and crashing classic rock. “Still To Keep” keeps up the reputation earned on donor debut album “Born To Ruin”.
Straight Lines – RUNAWAY NOW – 3 Trk CD – Xtra Mile www.myspace.com/starightlines
As befitting the label and their peers, Straight Lines are a rock band, but they seem more accessible without losing too much of the driven impact that a ‘rock band’ should command. The hooks are a little obvious here, but on the other tracks included (“Cutting Loose”), they’re dynamite.
Sound Of Guns – ALCATRAZ – 2 Trk CD – Distiller Records www.myspace.com/soundofguns
Scouse outfit Sound of Guns sound like a curious combination of James, Cast and The Skids. That’s not a bad melting point of sounds and “Alcatraz” is a pretty reasonable result. Purposeful, if not yet still waiting for the right song to prove their point.
Kill The Captains – RUMMY – 1 Trk CD / Digital Download – Armellodie www.killthecaptains.co.uk
Sheffield’s quirky guitar outfit mix ska and semi-reggae basslines with vocals that sound like they’ve fallen out of a London indie venue photo shoot. “Rummy” doesn’t do much except provide the vehicle for a yelpy melody- sadly the accompanying tracks aren’t on this CD to prove me (in)correct..
Ali Love – LOVE HARDER – 6 Trk Remix CD – Backyard www.myspace.com/mralilove
Ali Love’s electronic exploits are quite rightly compared to Frankie Goes to Hollywood and there’s something that reminds you of their dirty 80’s love songs – this is immensely commercial but with a nice dark streak throughout.
This loud brash rock n roll from Cardiff, is suitably recorded in a lo-fi style – This is rough tough stuff formed in the vein of 80’s Matchbox and To The Bones. Crash, bash punk from the Welsh capital. Enjoy.
Subsource – TALES FROM THE DOOMBOX – 10 Trk CD – Doombox www.myspace.com/subsource
London’s Subsource, mix rock, dance electronics and rap into a package that powerful, it could rival The Prodigy. Whether they’ve cornered matters with the right tune (“Disarm” gets near) remains to be seen, but the energy boiling up behind this is pretty phenomenal.
The Loves – SWEET SISTER DELTA – 3 Trk CD – Fortuna Pop www.myspace.com/lovetheloves
Ten years on (and various cool labels and Peel sessions later) The Loves are still pushing their 60’s tinged, new wave pop tunes – here delivered with slightly shambolic guitars and the sound of a bargain priced organ somewhere at the back – it is, however, a neatly delivered chunk of sunshine pop.
Plan B – She Said – Various Formats / Download - Atlantic
Ben Drew’s rapid ascent is largely down to his 60’s styled falsetto, found here on “She Said” from his much anticipated second album. With Drew pursuing both acting and rapping careers, the latter is maybe not his strongest point – what undoubtedly is, comes from the melodies and commercial aspirations of this obvious chart topper.
The National - Bloodbuzz Ohio - 7" vinyl / Digital Download / 4AD
The first single from The National's forthcoming new album High Violet is 'Bloodbuzz Ohio'. If you’re quick you also get a free download of the single via www.highviolet.com. It’s well worth the effort as this single in particularly seems denser and more compact than ever, washed in broad echoes and effects as the baritone vocals clamber higher than ever.
Trademark – AT LOCH SHIEL EP – 7 Trk CD / Download – White Label www.trademark-online.co.uk
Trademark have already made a mark here at MM – appearing last on the recent Brainlove compilation, but were first spotted in 2006 when we perhaps unfairly described them as “The Pound Shop Boys”. This EP actually builds on that accusation, but finds them in a more convincing and coherent place, where their retro synth pop avoids being too edgy and actually begins to make sense. The title track is by far the most moving and efficient track on here.
Signals are John Gray, Bill Gray and Jacob Cooper - all perhaps more famously known for being former members of The Mae Shi (see confusing but effective album“ HLLLYH”). Here they take math-indie to new levels, splicing in programmed casio beats to frantic semi-punk comic book pop attacks.
The Boy Who Trapped The Sun – HOME – 5 Trk CD – Chess Club www.myspace.com/theboywhotrappedthesun
Colin MacLeod is from the Isle of Lewis (familiar ? – yes that’s where Stornoway is located). So as you’d expect there are heavy folk leanings at play, but you will also find various explorations into bluesy, easy going ballads. This is all smoothly delivered with acoustic guitars and pianos, in various states of entirely acceptable emotion.
Falling Red – SHAKE THE FAITH – 8 Trk CD - Rocksector www.myspace.com/fallingredband
This head banging quartet from Cumbria deliver a sleazy hard charging brand of heavy rock that’s as much G’n’R / LA rock as it is a modern example of punk derived glam. This album is brilliantly produced and sounds suitably big too, with plenty of well written power trips. They’re mid tour at the moment taking in more than a fair share of pubs – that, at least will be worth seeing.
Citadels – The Chemical Song – 2 Trk 7” Vinyl / Download– Pure Groove www.myspace.com/citadelsmusic
In the style of Arcade Fire. Citadels serve up a limited release on Pure Groove that seems more electric, yet just as melodic as their previous work. Stirring stuff, that shows a band progressing well whilst summoning up a couple of delectable tunes.
Unusual dub electronica from elusive London based producer. “Soundboy Shift” is interesting in some respects but pretty unchallenging in others – like a lot of DJ records there are 30 seconds of ideas spread over 5 minutes. If someone took away his mouse and gave him a guitar (or even a piano) to write a song on, could he do it ?
From last year’s album of the same name, “Moon Landing” is the work of Norway’s Sivert Hoyem (former singer with Madrugada). This is an invariably glossy, predictably mainstream offering, but no better and therefore no worse than a lot of Radio 2 aimed easy rock out there.