Monday, 28 February 2011

Open Swimmer – Sugar Bowl * Single of the day * release date 28/2/2011


Sugar Bowl delivers a folk melody line married with stripped down production, great harmonies, arrangement and sound. The dynamics are amazing, starting and ending with just vocals, in places using just drums. The other instrumentation is there only to augment the song rather than form its basis. This produces a very original feel to the track making it difficult to pigeon hole into a single genre.

This is Open Swimmers début single, what a great start, more good news is that their first album is already in the can and there are some more tracks on You Tube if you can't wait.

Review Index 

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Toy Horses – And It Was You * Single of the day * release date 20/2/2011

And It Was You is a melodic, engaging and catchy début by Welsh band Toy Horses. It's a piano led track with dreamy vocals, great harmonies and matter of fact verses, culminating in a Beatlesque ending. The sound is definitely radio friendly with broad appeal.

Their eponymous début album is touted for release in early 2011. If they can maintain this quality it will be well worth a listen. They could well breakthrough with enough exposure and in the getting noticed stakes releasing three and a half minutes of perfect pop is a good start.

Review Index 

Friday, 25 February 2011

Scanners – Salvation * Single of the day * release date 20/2/2011

Salvation has a rich dark sound that will stick in your mind long after you've finished listening to it. An intro slightly reminiscent of Wake Me Up When September Ends becomes something entirely different as it gradually builds into a dynamic audio journey.

It's certainly no surprise that Scanners have a history of getting their music onto TV and film soundtracks given the textures they produce. Thoughtful song, thoughtful production, convincingly performed, awesome.

This is a double A side with Baby Blue but in my opinion Salvation is the outstanding track.

Review Index

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Boys Don't Cry & Friends – Don't Go Jumping With Frogs * Single of the day * release date 21/2/2011

This is probably a Marmite song, I love it, you may hate it. Don't Go Jumping With frogs starts off sounding like some whimsical nostalgia trip, but don't be fooled its going somewhere else. It sets up some interesting juxtapositions lyrically and musically that will make you prick up your ears.

Apparently Madonna was a big fan of their first hit, I Wanna Be A Cowboy, but that was back in 1986 ! Perhaps they need to send a copy of this to Lady Gaga to see if they can repeat the effect.

Review Index 

Miles Kane – Come Closer release date 18/2/2011

There's a laid back Radar Love feel to the opening of Come Closer. From there it builds, ebbs and flows, relaxed but intense with occasional bursts of exuberance. Textured and dynamic it bears repeated listening and gets better each time.

This is the second single released from Miles' forthcoming début album Colour Of The Trap and I much prefer it to the first – Inhaler, which was more of an all out rocker. Come Closer makes a much bigger stylistic impression and deserves to have some impact on the chart.

Review Index

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Furlo – Your Entire Glows release date 21/2/2011

If Kings of Leon released Your Entire Glows it would shoot straight into the top 5. Unfortunately for Furlo they won't command the coverage and airplay to achieve that result.
An energetic rock song which drives along nicely but ultimately is not particularly outstanding.

Perhaps there is some logic to releasing this as a début single, falling as it does, slap bang in the middle of its genre. In my opinion a more distinctive sound would have been better on their first release. They have some more in the locker, check out Cruelest Friends, hopefully that will be the follow up.

Review Index 

Planningtorock – Doorway release date 21/2/2011

Great sounding record, makes me feel like I'm being enveloped in someone’s dark soul.
It starts off ominously and becomes more and more oppressive. The very best synth pop can do this, be evocative, disturbing and compelling.

If you want background music or a track to lift your mood this is not the song you are looking for. If you want to listen to something that is thoughtfully constructed to create an emotional reaction then you have found it.

Doorway shows how a three and a half minute song can still be art and not production line pulp.
Listen to it in a darkened room and explore yourself (Not like that ! I meant emotionally).

Review Index 

A Plastic Rose – Oceans * Single of the day * release date 21/2/2011

Oceans is anthemic rock song that sounds fresh and current. A Plastic Rose deliver a great dynamic sound and musical energy, matched by passionate vocals and great harmonies.

The production and rhythm section gives Oceans a stop-start roller-coaster quality, but they never stall, giving wave after wave of sonic pleasure. It's a song you can listen to over and over again without it getting stale.

If you enjoy this song then there will be seven new tracks to look forward to on their forthcoming mini-album which, according to their website, is due for release on the 31st March.

Review Index 

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Jamie Woon -Lady Luck release date 18/2/2011

I'm glad I persevered and found the studio version of Lady Luck over the weekend. The live track on You Tube appears to have two ocean liners in the audience alerting each other to their presence with loud foghorn blasts.

Laid back and chilled this would be a great addition to a background mix tape for those romantic evenings. As a stand alone track it's pleasant but not ground-breaking, so probably not his first smash. Jamie has a great voice, check out the Al Fresco version on You Tube to hear it in its full glory.

Review Index 

Cults – Go Outside release date 18/2/2011

Just irritatingly catchy in a brainwashing type of way, maybe that why they're called Cults, Go Outside infects your brain with its chorus. For me its definitely a late night chilling song, even the intro sounds like wind chimes on a breezy evening.

You may as well leave it on repeat because when you turn it off that chorus just carries on in your mind, over and over again, in either wind chime or vocal form. That's the only problem, in your memory it becomes a three phrase loop which never gets to a verse, mind you careers have been built on less.

Review Index 

Malachai – Let 'Em Fall * Single of the day * release date 21/2/2011

Let 'Em Fall has such an imposing feel about it that you can imagine the darkness closing in around you. With well considered lyrics and vocal performance Malachai create a rich sound-scape, this song grooves as much as it rocks. Although reminiscent of Jamiroquai this song has an original authenticity all of its own.

Malachai must surely be on the verge of a major breakthrough with this track and if you need further convincing of their credentials I strongly recommend you listen to one of their previous singles, Snowflake.

If there was any justice songs as emotive and dynamic as this would be hits every time they came along because they don't seem to come along that often.

Review Index

Monday, 21 February 2011

Take That – Kidz release date 21/2/2011

Mark Owen's distinctive vocals have always suited these bouncy tracks, but there is certainly some influence from Robbie in the title. I expect in anticipation of an inevitable greatest hits of Take That and Robbie Williams anthology Kids was changed to Kidz to avoid any confusionwith his Kylie Minogue duet.

Kudos to Take That though, this is a great track with an originality about it, which I much prefer to The Flood. Given that they will sell records anyway its great to hear them still evolving their sound.

The subject matter of the song, the ruling order is bad, but don't worry the kids will sort it out is a bit old hat. Lets face it the 'kids' Rik was pinning his hopes on in the Young Ones maintained the status quo, as did the punks and the hippies before them. Every generation submits in the end, I don't see any signs that this one is any different, unless of course you're Egyptian.

Review Index

Alessi's Ark – Wire release date 21/2/2011

With its easy rhythm and overall sound there is definitely a Jack Johnson feel to Wire. A lovely gentle summery tune, a bit of a pity it's a February release.

The song ends abruptly, as if Alessi's told us all what she has to say so there's not much point carrying on, which is quite refreshing.

Unfortunately the tune only really hooks you on the second or third listen, which is a shame as it probably won't get enough exposure to puncture the common consciousness. It really need to be featured in a Panasonic ad with lots of colourful balloons.

Given her distinctive voice and style it would be great to see Alessi get some mainstream exposure. If you know any ad creatives be sure to let them know.

Review Index

Outer Limits Recordings - $20 Bill release date 21/2/2011

$20 Bill has captured the feel of kitsch underground 70's disco and refuses to let it go.

The production sounds like it was done on two cassette decks rigged together to form a rudimentary home studio. This provides charm and frustration in equal measure. I'm sure it's done intentionally to give the warmth of A.M. radio or vinyl, but it's a tad overdone. If the effect was toned down just a little it would be a fantastic track.

Having said that, it is clever stuff, deserves a listen and I woke up humming it one morning so it must be catchy.

Review Index

Fists – Ascending * Single of the Day * release date 21/2/2011

Beginning with a twangy guitar intro Ascending blends a delicate dreamy vocal with pumping guitar backing. The dynamic arrangement sounds fresh and raw. I love tracks that aren't scared to leave gaps for the vocals to explore.

It's a great song performed with audible energy, a real palette cleanser given the preponderance of so many unimaginative overproduced songs that litter the charts. This is evolved rock'n'roll at its best.

If I'm going to be picky the production budget was probably quite small and in places it shows, but even this only adds to its charm.

Not manufactured, not manicured, not perfect but thoroughly enjoyable. It just makes me feel good.

Review Index

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Welcome to New Singles Review

Hello and welcome to New Singles Review.

Starting on 21st February 2011 I will be reviewing as many singles as I can that are being released in the coming week. Obviously these reviews will be tainted by my own taste in music and if you disagree with something I've said please feel free to add your comments.

There are countless singles released each week, some by the major labels, most by independents. Whilst I will be reviewing major releases I hope to unearth some gems that you may miss among the independents. Hopefully you will enjoy the reviews but my fervent wish is that I help you to find music you enjoy.

When I decided to to write this blog there were two major problems that I found preparing for it, both related to release dates. Firstly when I managed to find a few sites listing new releases there were an appreciable number of tracks from major labels that were already in the chart. Obviously I want to keep my blog fresh so if a track is already out there I can't see the point in reviewing it. Secondly most sites documenting new releases pretty much show around ten new releases. Knocking out the tracks that had already charted hardly left any to review. So if nothing else at least there will be a longer list of new releases here than most places on the web.

That's it for now, I'm going to start the enjoyable process of finding new music and I hope you join me on Monday.

Have a great weekend.