Once we struggle to see floor space at SoundsXP Towers we know it's time to step up a gear on the singles and demos reviewing front. So without further ado, and giving the deeply unpleasant the Kills and their latest horror show, Tape Song, a wide berth we commence...
Seven Inch Mayhem
The Wombats' Is this Christmas? (14th Floor Records) will hopefully earn lots of lovely lolly for Mencap, to whom the proceeds will be directed. However I hope I never have to listen to the useless piece of tosh again. For me the Christmas season wil always be soundtracked by the Spector album, not a football chant lumpenly delivered by a bunch of cloth eared chumps. Yes, Wombats, I'm talking about you.
The promo CD for Kong's Leather Penny (Brew Records) looks like someone has used it as a tampax. Resisting the temptation to sniff it, I foolishly insert it into my player... WOOOOOAAAAHHH! A whiney heavy punk wail is emitted, like a barrel load of screech owls have been taught to play by Fugazi and the silly feathered brutes have de-tuned their instruments and put their amps on max. If that sounds like something you'd enjoy then you're madder than Kong.
Thomas Tantrum's sprightly Rage Against the Tantrum almost sounds tuneful by comparison. Mildly chaotic, but in a good way, it's pulled from the drawer marked 'Madcap indie dance', and has all sorts of samples (one bit sounds suspiciously like a game of ping pong) and shouty female vocals. Like the Go Team but not going round the outside, round the outside, if you get my drift. No? Oh.
If anyone deserves to make a career out of the music industry it's the bassist out of Southend trio RedTrack, who has one of those Against the Odds' sob stories much loved by X Factor et al. Apparently the poor fella was attacked by two chavs wielding an air pistol and meat-cleaver last year and lost the use of two fingers in one hand as a result. Well, our plucky hero has battled back and flicked two fingers (er, not those two obviously) to his attackers by learning to play without them. And the results are amazing really, as the Wait Around EP is an enjoyable powerpop romp, with neat hooks and great BASS lines, to the familiar themes of broken relationships and small-town mentalities.
I never know what to expect with The Shortwave Set but Glitches n Bugs (Wall of Sound) is one of their better efforts, a happy krautrocker that meanders along with layers of bleeps and fading in/out keys putting me in a good Moog. Not so sure about their cover of Slave to the Rhythm though...
Back in my day, you could get eight racist chews for an old penny, molest small children and be merely branded a bit ‘funny’ and put on an EP and know that it would last no more than three minutes in total. Well Leicestershire’s Kyte put the extended back into EP with their thirty minute, four tracker Two Stars, Two Sparks (Kids). That’s half an hour. You could spend that time watching Two Pints of Lager on BBC3, though it’s somewhat doubtful that you’d experience quite the same calm and unflustered napper that the gentle ethereal post-rock epics on offer here could give you. Mind set: chillaxed…
Mind set: Anxious! Oh dear, I suddenly stumble across Close the Lid by Californian folkies Port O’Brien and realise the bugger’s been lost in the pile and I’ve missed the release date by three weeks! Still, if you can find it in the shops, and I dare say you will as it’s out on big label V2/Co-op, do so. Driven by its spiffing acoustic riff and a lovely yelped vocal it builds to a great chorus and by the end I’m convinced that I too need facial hair and a big hat.
Death Cab for Cutie are a bloody frustrating bunch. When, they’re good, like on this pleasant slice of radio friendly pop, No Sunlight (Atlantic), they bring back memories of those Kiwi geniuses the Chills, with the great melodies, whimsical flourishes and lovely vocals all battling for your love at the same time. Now all they need to do is set fire to the other box of misshapes they occasionally get distracted by, the one titled ‘self-indulgent and dreary emo twoddle’.
And finally, Glasgow’s The Felt Tips warble their way through their cute cuts on 3” CD for the appropriately named WeePOP! Label. With elements of C86 legends Bob (Bought and Sold), early the Smiths (The Love that Never Spoke Its Name) and Belle and Sebastian (The One Who Got Away), it ticks a creditable number of twee boxes without leaving me with a craving for raw meat afterwards.