Song reviews


  All You Need is Vulgarity by The Dots

All You Need is Vulgarity cover art

Glasgow indie rockers

Oh dear, more victims of the Glasgow indie rock disease. The Dots have all the symptoms – one trick pony guitarist, a drummer that seems to be playing in a different band and a vocalist doing a weak impersonation of Liam Gallagher. Remarkably, “All You Need is Vulgarity” beats the four minute mark and “Last Horse” coughs and splutters to a halt at no less than five and a half minutes.  They clearly don’t know when to quit.

Review date:  February 24 2011

  Lazy Winter Wednesday by The Ambersons

Lazy Winter Wednesday cover art

Six good men of Warrington

Another case of retro being the new black but who really cares when you get neat, subtly psychedelic, melodies like The Ambersons have on offer with the smoke gets in your eyes and makes you happy “Lazy Winter Wednesday” or, with a nod to both Ray Davies and the Chinn/Chapman hit machine, the mellow metaphorical charms of “The Housecat”. Old style pop music, if you like.

Review date:  February 12 2011

  Healers by The Ideal Crash

Healers cover art

Arisen from the ashes of the Ten To Five Project

I remember the Ten To Five Project as being a band who successfully walked a fine line between dry humour and tweeness. “Healers” from this new band - formed from what once was the Ten To Five Project – makes out like a homogenised version of the Ten to Five Project sound while “The Lost Ones” sounds quirky enough to be a Ten To Five Project song (which is a good thing, by the way). Wonder why they used a different name?

Review date:  January 25 2011

  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

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