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Jarock Weekly Podcast 6 (26th March)

1. Duels- The Furies
Official Site
2. 65 Days Of Static- Dance Parties (Distant) (Myspace Of The Week)
3. The Officers- Disarm
4. Frank Turner- Photosynthesis (Single Of The Week)
5. Future Of The Left- Manchasm
6. Shout Out Louds- Tonight I Have To Leave It
7. That Fucking Tank- Making A Meal For Beethoven
Official Site
8. Travis- Good Feeling (Lost Classic)
Official Site
9. Dan Le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip- A Letter From God To Man
10. The Conway Story- A Drug


A post on Post Rock (65 Days Of Static new music download-centric)

65 Days Of Static are back next month with The Distant & Mechanised Glow of Eastern European Dance Parties EP, featuring two re-workings of a previous album track of the same name (taken from their third LP The Destruction Of Small Ideals) and two completely new tracks, one of which they have excellently made available for free to download. Anyone who saw the Sheffield group in their Autumn tour will recognise Goodbye 2007 as their storming set opener. Eschewing their more metal influences in favour of the more electronica-based sounds that hark back from debut album The Fall Of Math, it sets the band up very promisingly for this year, in which they've already played their biggest career dates yet in supporting 80s new wave goths The Cure:

Goodbye 2007


Post rock is a term that is becoming a looser and looser description for the genre of music it's attempting to portray; indeed many of the pioneering bands of it, such as Scotland's
Mogwai openly reject the term. There's a pretty apparent reason for this, namely that as the genre unrelentingly evolves and grows more and more styles are added to it; what started out as "using rock instrumentation for non-rock purposes, using guitars as facilitators of timbre and textures rather than riffs and power chords," (Simon Reynolds reviewing Bark Pyschosis's album Hex for The Wire in 1994) has now come to facilitate as great deal, particularly with the growing influence of dance music on the genre. Post rock now basically seems to categorise anything that's instrumental music- an extremely vague description.

This isn't always the case however; bands like iLiKETRAiNS and the sadly defunct Hope Of The States take aspects from the early advances of post rock like the walls of sound made prominent in the shoegaze era by the likes of
My Bloody Valentine as well as the hallmark unorthodox chord progressions and slow gradual build ups of the now recognised pioneers of post rock Mogwai, Black Psychosis et al, and marry it with potent lyrics and vocal delivery. Both remain post rock acts, because as electronica bleeds into drum n bass and dubstep and as R'n'B bleeds into Hip Hop, post rock has become, and arguably has always been a mixture of other types of music. In Britain there's currently somewhat of a post rock renaissance going on: the following few acts are all classed as post rock but vary greatly:

The Hearing- Absent foundations
Coventry-based group, released a mini-album last year; straight ahead indie instrumentals.


Oceansize- Catalyst (Live)
Manchester group with a heavy industrial edge, formed in 1998.


Vessels- The Beast (Radio 1 Session)
Up coming Explosions In The Sky-influenced group from the South East. Album expected later this year.


Youthmovies- If You'd Seen A Battlefield (Live @ ATP 18-05-07)
Hotly tipped Oxford group featuring Andrew Mears (ex-Foals), fantastic debut album Good Nature was released last week.


Sona Di- Dawn
Newcastle-based group, building a sure but steady fanbase with their American-tinged post rock.


i Concur- Exits Are Blockades
Leeds-based group heavily influenced by the shoegaze era but with a handy knack for a melody that's all of their own.


You Slut!- Roofio Shoots Roofio Scores
Derbyshire group who add a sharp, aggressive streak to their instrumentals. Debut album Critical Meat is finally out in the UK after being available in Japan for over a year.



'Youthmovies- Good Nature' review for Audioscribbler


Youthmovies: Good Nature


Label: DrownedInSound
Date Released:

Your Rating:

Simon Jay Catling

When Magdalen Bridge, the opening track on Youthmovies (née Youth Movie Soundtrack Strategies) debut offering, takes over four minutes to build up in a stream of burbling noise and strained sound, you just know that either you’re about to listen to something utterly incredible, or something that will completely fall flat on its face. This debut album has been a long time coming from the Oxford five-piece since their formation back in 2002. A couple of EPs not withstanding, it’s been in the live arena that they’ve mainly been learning their craft- supporting the likes of 65 Days Of Static and lead vocalist Andrew Mears old band Foals. All the while the hype around them has slowly built and built, much like their songs: rumours abounded of a heavier sounding Foals, of fusions of different styles, of soaring eight minute epics. Well finally we’ve reached the point of no return; do any of those pre-conceptions ring true? You don’t know the half of it.

Right from preceding single The Naughtiest Girl Is A Monitor it’s clear that this band are onto something special. Within its four minutes forty six seconds lies more creativity, more musical diversity, than a Courteneer could come up with in a career; even more impressive is the ease at which the band seamlessly switch gears between styles; from post-rock to power punk via a good staple of danceable rhythms and po-going verses. It’s astounding. Next track Soandso & Soandso (which in fact happens to be one of two eight minutes plus epics on this ten track album) splashes us with tight angular guitars, thrown like paint, against a wall of background scuzz and distortion; however added to this mix, is a brass section! And you know what? It really works- the arrangements compliment rather than smother the rest of the music, and this is a trait regularly seen throughout the album. A lot of bands attract praise for displaying ideas and styles in abundance, but where many fail is in managing not to overload the listener with all of them at once; Youthmovies carefully pick and choose where they’re going to go next in their sprawling epics. However, they do this with much more warmth and feeling than their more pop-tastic but colder blooded peers Foals- what will give this more energy? What’s going to compliment the previous three minutes I’ve just played?

This set of songs come across as being loveably and painstakingly created, akin to a fine piece of art though as opposed to an Airfix model. This is not to say that Youthmovies can’t keep it short and direct when needed though; there’s enough short bursts of energy here to supplement the longer tracks like the aforementioned Soandso & Soandso and Something For The Ghosts. The Last Night Of The Proms simmers and seethes, sounding as though it’d find favour with Kerrang! readers as much as it would with those of the drain pipe jean wearing NME loving variety. It helps of course that they’re all excellent musicians; drummer Graeme Murray switches time scale easily, providing both subtlety and drive in equal measure when needed, with Stephen Hammond on bass stoically giving a helping hand, and allowing Mears and English on guitar with Stephen Scott on brass free reign to cut and shape the twisted, beautiful journey they choose their music to take. This is never more apparent than on sixth track, and arguably the pinpoint of the whole album, If You’d Seen A Battlefield which writhes and thrashes around in so many different directions that you couldn’t possibly expect it to fit together, and yet, somehow, it does.

As Mears wearily claims ‘it’s not going well it’s not going badly, it’s just going on’ he’s joined by simple but effective drums, bass and a solitary guitar, before all of a sudden all hell breaks loose and once again we’re off into angular art rock territory; yet how can art rock bring to mind the likes of Fall Of Troy? By throwing all of their influences into the cauldron, Youthmovies actually manage to come out with something better: 65 Days Of Static but with more direction, Explosions In The Sky with more bite, Foals with greater depth- and a human, handcrafted feel that’s all of their own. Something For The Ghosts even explores the avant-garde mysticism of the Mars Volta, its nine minutes filled with sprawling solos, howling feedback and vast soundscapes- all the while though it’s kept from crashing into the sun by solid percussion and burbling bass lines. All of this and I’ve not even mentioned the frantic Archive It Everywhere, the methodically brilliant Shh! You’ll Wake It or the rousing closer Surtsey.

What we are dealing here essentially then is a classic, the only track that leaves this short of the full ten marks is the rather uninspiring and mono-paced Cannulae, but then every hurricane has an eye. Youthmovies give us everything here; extravagant prog metal for those who are too cool to admit they like prog metal, shoegazing post-rock for those who like to stare at their feet and absorb the noise thrown at them, undeniably catchy pop punk choruses, and searing rhythms to get the indie kids dancing. All of this is encapsulated in one tight, hour long, coherent package. What am I talking about? This is a masterpiece.


'Winona- Rosebud' God Is In The TV Review

Winona - Rosebud

Simon Jay Catling

Who remembers ‘Monkey Dust’? Created by Shaun Pye and the late Harry Thompson, the animated series satirised many aspects of modern day Britain and featured twisted comedy that cuts open the dark and seedy nature of this country. Some of the more controversial sketches included the training of terrorists in the West Midlands, paedophile witch hunts and our nations increasing obsession with fame and celebrity. Wrapped around this warped, nocturnal world was a soundtrack of quite remarkable potency; the minimal electronica of ‘Boards Of Canada’, the down tempo ‘Nithin Sawnhey’ and the murky, ethereal world of early ‘Goldfrapp’ regularly punctuated scenes and dragged each episode further down into a black hole of humour. The reason I mention Monkey Dust is because, upon listening to ‘Rosebud’, the listener is reminded instantly of that same dark, otherworldly music.

‘Winona’ are a rather complicated mixture of film composers, lyricists, musical programmers, actresses and vocalists. Winona herself acts as the lyricist, whilst programmer Scott Fraser and score writer Craig Armstrong provide the music. French actress Laurence Ashley contributes spoken word lyrics that melt into the velvet voice of singer Lucy Pullin. Confused? Don’t worry; whilst on paper this concoction sounds like the proverbial too many cooks, in practise the whole thing comes across bearing a lot more fruit than could be expected. Starting off with the atmosphere building ‘The White Room’- a song that brings to mind ‘Felt Mountain’-era Goldfrapp, Winona are clearly a group who wear their influences on their sleeve; this isn’t to their detriment too much however as throughout this album they pluck inspiration from a range of the finest electronic musicians spreading over the annals of time. ‘Without You,’ featuring the sensual vocals of Pullin, brings to mind late 90’s Massive Attack; the simmering, burbling bass and rhythm provides a sinister but subtle drive under the echoing vocals and vacuous synths. Second track ‘Celebrity’ meanwhile evokes a very 80s electro feel, as Pullin’s vocals are modulated and pulled out of recognition to fall in line with the sirens and squiggles; it’s on these vocal lead tracks where Winona excel. However, when they decide to go further down the minimal route there’s still riches to be had. ‘De Nada’ is a haunting, maimed creature of a song: using falsetto vocal and string samples with (yes another name drop,) Kraftwerk styled low synths to create a soundscape that’s bleak, and isolated almost entirely from the rest of the album. Songs with a bit more urgency to them include the rather Jarre-esque ‘You Can Dance I Can’t’ and the bold, brash ‘If Only’. The album finishes with the epic, slow build up of ‘Winona Falls’- a piece that gradually builds from a sparse background inch by inch before slowly exhaling and thus bringing the album to an awkward but brilliantly uncertain conclusion. It’s this kind of sinister magic that can make ‘Rosebud’ a compelling listen.

But, there are criticisms to be had. With such obvious debts to their inspirations, it seems at times that Winona can veer into the unimaginative and plain dull; it could be argued for instance that ‘Indigenous’ is a Nitin Sawnhey song in all but name, whilst elsewhere the ghosts of electronic past constantly resurrect themselves to the point where it can get a bit, well, obvious. There’s also a fair bit of filler here, as there is can be with a lot of this type of music; holding suspense and atmosphere for an entire album is a very tricky thing to do and for the most part Winona do it well. However, at times on some of more synth driven songs there can be a bit of a one-paced feel, and on the likes of ‘De Nada’ there’s an argument to be made that it could be shortened. However, these flaws aside, there’s no denying that this is a solid, at times beautiful escape into a dream-filled, wistful world that shows a dark underbelly- combining both the familiarity and peacefulness of nightfall but also the insecure, isolation in the darkness that comes with it. Now if only they had a TV series to put it to…

3.5 stars


The Crimea- Secrets Of The Witching Hour

The Crimea- Secrets Of The Witching Hour
1. Several Thousand Years Of Talking Nonsense
2. All Conquering
3. The 48A Waiting Steps
4. Raining Planets
5. Man
6. Bombay Sapphire Coma
7. Don't Close Your Eyes On Me
8. Loop A Loop
9. Light Brigade
10. Requiem Aeternam
11. Wierd

DOWNLOAD (zip file)

A good few months before Radiohead caused a hullabaloo with In Rainbows, another English band went against the grain by throwing out their album for free. With a lead singer with a style reminiscent of Billy Corgan and a nocturnal fantastical touch to their music, The Crimea aren't the most commercial of acts and sadly despite the free download their profile increased little. A very good album it is however, and the band are finally enjoying some recognition as Loop A Loop is currently appearing on a National Tv ad for chewing gum. Hurrah! If you're not sure whether you want to download, have a listen to a couple of the tracks below. At the end of the day though, its free!

The 48A Waiting Steps (2007)


Loop A Loop (2007)



Jarock Weekly Podcast 5 (19th March)

1. iLiKETRAiNS- We Go Hunting
Official Site
2. The Winchell Riots- Histories
3. The Whip- Trash (Single Of The Week)
4. Granby Row- Regret
5. The Mosaics- Runner (Myspace Of The Week)
Official Site
6. Bitter Ruin- Trust
7. You Slut!- Roofio Shoots Roofio Scores
8. The Hearing- This Is The Way Home
9. The Auteurs- Junkshop Clothes (Lost Classic)
Luke Haines Official Site
10. Errors- Salut France


Time. Space. Repeat.- The Early Transmissions Of Time

Time. Space. Repeat.- The Early Transmissions Of Time
1. Joy
2. Hush
3. And The Ghost Of A Thousands Dolphins Hangs In The Air
4. Blues Skies And Rain
5. Future Song
6. Meditation No. 1
7. Blue Sky
8. Notting Hill
9. The Fear
10. World Awake


Time. Space. Repeat are a London shoegaze band who cite a wide range of influences throughout literature and music. They write the kind of atmospheric and epic soundscapes that seem to be getting lost amongst the endless slew of nu-ravers, lad rockers and electro clashers carting their wares around our fair British Isles these days. The album The Early Transmissions Of Time was made available for free back in 2006 and is a stunning album of soaring highs and bleak lows. The download link will take you to a rapidshare link. Below you can listen to and download two singles that the band made available for free: No Laces and The End Of The World (included as the opening track on Jarock Weekly Podcast 4). For more information on the band visit the Myspace link at the bottom of the page.

The End Of The World (2007)


No Laces (2007)


Time.Space.Repeat's MYSPACE


Super Tennis- Super Tennis EP

The blog has hit a new dimension! Yes downloads and streams are now going to be made available. The tester for this is the excellent self-titled EP from Super Tennis. This is also available to download free from the band's Myspace

I aim only to offer music for download that is already LEGALLY free elsewhere on the internet. For more on this just have a look at the top right hand side of my blog. Anyway, enjoy! And hit me with some feedback.

Super Tennis- Super Tennis EP

1. Super Tennis Theme


2. Deuce Love


3. The Pacific Has No Memory


4. European Hunny Babies


5. Gin Tronix


To download, simply left-click 'Download'. You will be a lead to a page featuring a media player and a list of options on the right hand side. Click 'Download Original' and your download should start automatically.


Jarock Weekly Podcast 4 (12th March)

1. Time. Space. Repeat- End Of The World
2. Brides Of Neptune- Seven
3. Stagecoach- Hang That Head
4.Johnny Foreigner- Our Bipolar Friends(Single Of The Week)
5. Jason Wakefield- Farewell Liberator
6. i Concur- Exits Are Blockades (Myspace Of The Week)
7. The Victorian English Gentlemen's Club- Stupid As Wood
8. Tom Baxter- Tell Her Today
9. Mansun- Take It Easy Chicken (Lost Classic)
10. maybeshewill- In Another Life (When We Are Cats)

'The Angry Teenager #3' on Audioscribbler

Having been on a bit of a sabbatical whilst my esteemed editor added some other (very good) features and interviews, the Angry Teenager is back for a third installment on Audioscribbler, ranting and raving about the NME awards. Have a browse why don't you:


Editorial The Angry Teenager #3

By the great lords of Clearasil! I truly am the angriest teenager alive. Sure, they claim to remove spots within 48 hours, but the current round of Mt. Vesuvii (Vesuvius- plural) currently unleashing almighty pyroclastic flows down my cheeks and forehead suggest otherwise. Whilst making me popular amongst Geography students eager for a cheap field trip, they leave me rather less popular amongst PE students eager for a cheap punching bag. The joke’s on them though; I doubt they can even spell PE, or A&E- which is where I ended up after one too many beatings. High School is a tough mistress - that it is - but with a cheap £2 bottle of cider and a park bench things will be right with the world again of that I’m sure.

Date: 12/03/08

What I’m not sure about is the latest NME Awards; following hot on the heels of the BRITS (Blatantly Rigged Inbred Tossing Off Spectacular) where the nu-raving, drain piped wearing, neon face painted, lad rocking, supermodel screwing, powder snorting (I could go on like this for some time) masses descended upon the decidedly un-rock’n’roll O2 Arena. Sniveling, gawk-eyed NME journalists laughed loudly at anecdotes they didn’t really understand, complemented Jonny Klaxon (one of them must be called Jonny right?) on how fucked he was looking and generally acted like arse lickers for the night, complete with rubber tip at the end just to reach that bit further up the D-listers rectums.

It made for quite a sickening sight for sure- and this was just the pre-awards party. Once started, it became blatantly apparent that the NME had only heard of six bands in the last year, as those well worn names Arctic Monkeys and Babyshambles were joined by seemingly endless nominations for ‘hand me that fifteen year old casio keyboard and a bag of E’s; hey presto! A new genre!’ types Klaxons. Then there's the “geniuses” (more about this later) The Enemy, admittedly quite-good-really The Cribs, and admittedly very-good-really Muse. Still though, when every award is being contested by the same six bands out of a pool of thousands it’s enough to make yours truly rip up his battered porn mags, raise his hands to the sky and text my best mate Daz “OMG!! I iz fk1 wl pisd of!!!!” (I did in fact do that, he didn’t reply…Daz is actually 34; he works for Barclays; he didn’t understand what I was trying to say.)

Sad moments of the night included Muse constantly being referred to “The Muse”, firstly by the evenings presenters- that guy off Gavin & Stacey and some fat bloke (who WAS he!?), and then by Kelly ‘I can’t believe you're showing your face again after THAT Brits debacle with the rest of your family’ Osbourne. Matt and co. couldn’t have looked more embarrassed to be there even if Beth Ditto, in another trademark fit of feminist principles, had decided that, following last year’s nude front cover of her on the front of the NME, she would in fact become a nudist because it, like, was empowerment, and had thus pranced into the O2 Arena wearing nothing but her birthday suit (possibly the only birthday suit that had to be custom fitted- oof! Low blow.)

Standing In The Way of Control? Standing in the way of any bleedin’ natural light more like. Meanwhile, the Arctic Monkeys trundled on up to collect their obligatory Best British Band award whilst hundreds of ex-musicians around the country sighed at the demise of their own bandwagon jumping bands (see Larrikin Love/Milburn/The Paddingtons) and turned the gas ovens on at the McDonalds they were currently working the late shift at.

What really grabbed my pubescent ginger beard however was the backslapping between ‘band of the people', and by 'people' I mean those Oasis fans with slightly skewed vision, and thus are prepared to believe that it's just the Gallagher brothers releasing new material, instead of a rat-faced gimp and his ASBO mates taking the nation for a ride’ band The Enemy’s Tom Clarke and “Godlike Geniuses” the Manic Street Preachers. As already mentioned, Nicky Wire described Tom Clarke inaccurately as a “fucking genius” onstage, with the devious rodent returning the compliment later on in the night. The funniest words have to go to current real band of the people - wannabes Reverend & The Makers and their slack jawed lead man John McClure:

“It's a privilege to be sat on a table with The Enemy tonight,” he said, “because post-9/11, they're one of three bands worth caring about.”

“And that's us, The Enemy and MIA. They (The Enemy) should win Best Band, Best Album and Best Live Band because they don't give a fuck.”

*Insert jokes/disbelief/scorn here*

Until next time readers when we discover where Johnny Borrell’s teeth are Inter-railing to this year and whether that really was The Bravery’s Sam Endicott serving guests at the NME Awards at the bar last week.

Good day!

Words: The Angry Teenager


'Youthmovies- The Naughtiest Girl Is A Monitor' God Is In The TV review

Suitably hyperboled review of Youthmovies new single. But my gosh they are just a little bit exciting. If you enjoy ridiculous superlative with minimal musical critique then read on! Nah I'm jesting, it's not a bad review but not great, I need to pick up my game concerning reviewing singles, I seem to be struggling a bit on them.

Youthmovies - The Naughtiest Girl Is A Monitor (Drowned In Sound)
Simon Jay Catling

Well, here we are now; entertain us. Youthmovies have become yet another name to be hyped, enlarged, spun sideways and rammed down our throats in 2008- the year of overblown predictions. It’s just as well for them that they can follow most of their peers and deliver on their promise, and what a delivery it is. The Oxford quintet featuring Andrew Mears, yes from THAT band Foals, manage to combine more creative ideas in under five minutes than many of the latest crop of NME Award winners could come up with in an album.

Beginning with a series of squiggles and beeps is hardly the most audacious of starts to a song, but here it works well as a calm before the storm, with little hint of what is to come. The slow gradual build up continues into the verse with Mears almost laidback delivery suddenly giving way to tumultuous guitars delivered with rushed passion, before the whole thing releases with a big breath and turns into something else. What does it turn into? A damn catchy pop song with foot tapping quality that catches the listener completely by surprise that’s what; it’s not the fact that Youthmovies have welded together two very different styles in the space of the opening three minutes, it’s the ease and fluency that they manage to do so, changing gears smoothly, and repeating the trick a minute later as a wonderfully unhinged instrumental comes in replete with a romping brass section, providing amusing imagery of the band rocking out at a nearby park bandstand. The range in styles undoubtedly shows a debt to their influences, and yet by throwing them all into the cauldron, Youthmovies have actually come out with something better- 65 Days Of Static but with vocals and a keener knack for melody, Foals (sorry) but with a harder hitting edge that will doubtless leave indie club revellers the nation over confused as to whether they should mosh or dance- hell just do both.

As Andrew Mears almost whispered refrain ‘it’s becoming clearer that it’s not the end of the world’ fades out it’s quite apparent that something special has taken place within these four and three quarter minutes. Never mind taking us from A to B, this is a single that picks us up at A and bypasses most of the known alphabet before dropping us somewhere very rarefied and very new. What makes this even more exciting is that ‘The Naughtiest Girl Is A Monitor’ isn’t even the best song on the album, and if that doesn’t leave you salivating for more then I don’t know what will.

Watch the video here.

Youthmovies Myspace

4.5 stars


Band Of The Day!

The sharp-eyed amongst you will have noticed a new section on my blog page courtesy of Hype Machine. I've titled it band of the day because each day it will search music blogs from across the web and come up with tracks from the artist chosen by me each day. By clicking on the tracks you can play them and download them. Today I've started with my favourite band Muse just to get things started. Enjoy!


'Tom Baxter- Tell Her Today'- Audioscribbler review


Tom Baxter: Tell Her Today


Label: Charisma Records
Date Released:

Your Rating:

Simon Jay Catling

It’s fair to say that Suffolk’s Tom Baxter has had an up and down experience with the music industry since he first made himself known with a self-titled EP back in 2004. The singer songwriter was signed to Sony in time for the release of his debut album Feather and Stone, only to be dropped rather unceremoniously by the major last year. Brushing himself down, the 34 year old wrote a composed and varied second album, Skybound, that was released independently and this, his second single, is a perfect example of the diversity that Baxter manages to put in to what is a very open and closed genre.

Tell Her Today sets its stall out very early with a flamenco-esque bass line leading the way over a soft but rhythmic percussion. The key to this song is in its slow build up- the strings are brought in early but are never allowed to break rank until towards the end, instead simmering and allowing Baxter’s throaty drawl to take precedence, as he urges those of us too afraid to admit our love to a favoured someone to just grow a pair and let them know. Obviously, the man puts it in a far more sensual and poetic way than I just have, but as he pleads with us to ‘take the time, drop everything, tell her’, his sentiment remains the same; it’s conventional but tidily done and rather more, allows the whole thing; strings and all, to erupt in a frenzied outro reminiscent even of Muse’s own overblown latino epic City Of Delusion.

Baxter is no doubt fully aware that the male singer/songwriter market is rather over-saturated at the moment, but there is no denying but he is bringing something a little different to the party which no doubt will make Sony feel very foolish, and a couple of our more generic shuffling, songwriter friends give a little glance over their shoulder.

'The Whip- Trash' review on Audioscribbler


The Whip: Trash


Label: Kitsune
Date Released:

Your Rating:

Simon Jay Catling

We all know who The Whip are by now right? The Manchester-based electro-pop band have been making (new) waves for almost a year now, culminating last year in a successful slot on one of Manchester’s infamous Warehouse Project bills. Things are rapidly gaining momentum for the four piece this year as well with a headlining tour to come in May and new album X Marks Destination also on the way. Preceding all of this is a single release of one of their most established live favourites- Trash.

The Whip are a band who wear their influences on their sleeves and so the electro-grooves of both Simian Mobile Disco et al. are extremely prominent here. Where the band manages to add their own imprint onto the genre however is by taking said filthy electro beats and adding very sneering, sleazy rock rawness over the top of it. There’s no other way to describe it, it’s very Manchester. When vocalist Danny Saville sneers ‘I wanna be trash’ as the song goes into its overdriven, bit shaking chorus, you can picture a million seedy, dark nightclubs reverberating to this the country over. The Whip aren’t necessarily doing anything new and this is by far their strongest track to be released thus far, but in terms of the here and now they fit in very nicely indeed. Time will tell whether they don’t come unstuck.

The Whip- Trash


'Neon Neon- Stainless Style'- God Is In The TV review

Neon Neon - Stainless Style (Lex)
Simon Jay Catling

It’s a glorious coincidence that in this, the thirtieth year since Jean-Michel Jarre released his electronic masterpiece ‘Oxygene,’ electro seems to be more prominent than ever as act after act give their own interpretations on a musical genre that many forget has a long and diverse history all of its own. However, when Super Furry Animals front man Gruff Rhys decides to have a stab at it then you know it’s time to sit up and pay attention. Rhys is a man with few inhibitions creatively- a random trawl back through the ‘Furries back catalogue should tell you that, not to mention his recently acclaimed solo venture. Here he teams up with Los Angeles producer Boom Bip, and numerous other collaborators; implores us to don our RELAX t-shirts, dye our hair a weird shade of acid green and gyrate about like it’s the 80s all over again. At this point readers you can be forgiven for thinking this sounds less promising than when Dexy’s Midnight Runners man Kevin Rowland made his return to Reading festival in 1999 wearing a dress and wheeling out slushy love ballads. However, this is Gruff Rhys we’re talking about- a creative well that as yet shows no sign of abating, and in Neon Neon we have something a lot better than just a side project.

‘Stainless Style’ possesses both the style and sheen that befits an album documenting the life of successful car engineer John DeLorean, (oh did I forget to mention it’s a concept album too?) and wastes no time luring the listener in with the rather Jarre-esque ‘Neon Theme’; featuring enough rhythmic percussion and sliding synths and bleeps, this would take us all back twenty years if it didn’t sound so fresh and modern at the same time. The heavily thudding ‘Dream Cars’ follows next with Rhys’ unmistakeable vocal narrating on how DeLorean got to the top of the car industry. Those thinking that all there is here is some re-hashed electro and tired synths though, don’t be fooled; spiky, jagged guitars cut through the electric drum beat and writhing noises here to give a pre-conceptually dreamy song a real bite and edge. This is a trick that’s repeated to good effect throughout the album and allows the songs to explore a depth and diversity that one might not expect, and Neon Neon really do span those genres here, from the euphoric, pulsating energy of ‘I Told Her On Alderaan’ to ‘Trick For Treat’- a real ear opener that marries the album’s overriding 80’s shimmer to (and you’ll probably slay me for this,) the pop R’n’B sensibilities of Justin Timberlake, thanks to an impressive vocal collaboration by US rapper Spank Rock. At the other end of the spectrum comes ‘Steel Your Girl,’ which comes as close to bog standard indie rock as your likely to get on this LP, and is definitely one of the albums more forgettable tracks. All is forgiven however with forthcoming single ‘I Lust U,’ featuring the deliciously seductive vocals of Welsh singer Cate Le Bon in a purely retro slice of electro pop that, had it been released a couple of months later, would surely soundtrack this year’s summer. Le Bon and Rhys duet in a wonderfully laidback manner; gently nudging each other on, whilst Bip provides electronic hooks that bore their way into your head just as successfully as any pop song. With such a raised bar it’s inevitable that the rest of the album doesn’t quite match up, not to say that it doesn’t try. ‘Sweat Shop’ comes out grimey, bass heavy and reminiscent of expert DJ David Holmes own Free Association. ‘Belfast’ tells of DeLorean’s DeLorean Motor Company setting up in the exotic climbs of Northern Ireland, whilst ‘Michael Douglas’ appears to be strangely unhinged ode to the ageing actor’s sunglasses; finally comes the hip-hop influenced ‘Luxury Pool,’ an eulogy do DeLorean’s controversial life which saw success and millions before entrapment and court cases lead to his eventual downfall.

Neon Neon prove that writing intelligent pop never has to come at the expense of catchy hooks and danceable rhythms. Moreover, the duo managed to convey a depth and musical diversity here that elevates the album above that of ‘just another electro-pop record’. The accolades thus far in this review have gone to Gruff Rhys, but the influence of Boom Bip cannot be underestimated as he shapes and moulds his squiggles and squeaks into a coherent, atmospheric and, most important of all, memorable stylistic model- much like a certain Monsieur Jarre did some thirty years ago.

Neon Neon Myspace

4 stars


Jarock's Weekly Podcast 3 (5th March 2008)

1. Holy Fuck- Super Inuit (Live)
2. Clark- Volcan Veins
3. Meatsuit- Prayers (Myspace Of The Week)
4. Kathryn Williams & Neil MacColl- Come With Me (Single Of The Week)
5. Super Tennis- Super Tennis' Theme
6. The Music- Let Love Be The Healer (Live) (Upcoming Event Of The Week)
7. Angus & Julia Stone- Just A Boy
8. Youthmovies- Last Night Of The Proms
9. Winona- Without You
10. Cardiacs- Is This The Life? (Lost Classic)


Older stuff...part 2

December saw the debut of a certain Singles Monkey at Play Pause Stop. Delightfully, during a meeting last week, one of PPS's more "colourful" writers took a great exception to the Singles Monkey which has delighted me no end. The Singles Monkey is only ever meant to be an embellished release listings. Yes, I do listen to every song I mention, normally on their Myspace, and this allows me to give a good FIRST IMPRESSION of the song. However, the main goal is to get a few cheap laughs and for it not to be taken seriously. Rather wonderfully the person in question let this rather simple point fly way over his head providing me with great joy.


A band who I often prattle on about, not just because I'm on good terms with a couple of them, well partly admittedly, but I was a fan before I was a friend I promise, Fear Of Music were published in December's PlayPauseStop with a profile of the band. Hopefully their album (recorded last SUMMER) will be out by the end of this year...a band who don't believe in rushing things...



A rather rushed live review of 65 Days Of Static also made it into this edition. Not my best, but my god it really WAS that good; and the good news is, they're back next month. I'll be there and that's a stone cold fact.



And finally, a little piece on my favourite album of the year from 2007. Pleasingly everyone on the staff had a different album in mind for their choice of the year which showed what a diverse bunch we are at PPS. Some folk who know me may be surprised at my choice.

During this brief lull in updating I'd like to thank everyone whose read this page and has uploaded the first two podcasts. The first one in particular was a big success, reaching over 90 downloads. The latest one's lagging behind a bit on about 40 but it's still a hell of a lot more than I thought, so I'd like to thank all those downloading. I'd love it if folk started contributing comments and emails on this site, I know there's people who read this so come on, make yourself known, it'd be nice to hear from you whether you have nice OR nasty things to say. Anyway, new podcast on Wednesday and with Youth Movies new album sent me way today as well as an Angry Teenager to catch up on there should be plenty of action on here over the next few days!

Older stuff...part 1

The post I stuck up about 10 minutes ago made me realise it's been a few days since I last put up a full review for your browsing pleasure. So I thought until the next lot (should be appearing in dribs and drabs over the next 3-4 days) I'd stick up one or two bits and bobs I did pre-christmas.

All of these come from the Society magazine Play Pause Stop, which strangely isn't publishing a March edition, so sorry about that. It will be back in April however. Anyway, here's some of the stuff I wrote for the first two editions of it.

Article discussing the relative merits and negatives of Radiohead's decision to release In Rainbows online for an unfixed price:

Of course since the furore has died down it's become clear that this wasn't really such a revolutionary new move- proven by the fact the album made number one on physical sales anyway; I hope you'll find it an interesting read however.


A short 200 word review on ex-Mclusky man Andy Falkous' new band Future Of The Left- an absolute tour de force if ever there was.

Levellers single review in Student Direct

Well I entered Manchester University's student newspaper with a whimper rather than a bang this week. A MIGHTY 65 (count 'em) word review on lovable ageing hippies Levellers new double A-side. The word limits are ridiculously tight in the Music section but I guess this makes good practise trying to fit into a word limit because on the internet there are no restrictions and therefore the temptation to wonder off for hundreds and hundreds of words becomes very strong indeed.

In better news, I received an absolute plethora of promo CDs from God Is In The TV to review this week and most of them are damn excellent- very excited about Neon Neon and Youth Movies albums. It's going to make Wednesday's podcast an absolute treat (I must confess I was becoming a bit at loss as to what to play). Until next time!

Levellers- A Life Less Ordinary/Cholera Well

(On The Fiddle Recordings)

Simon Catling


Once upon a time the Levellers were big. No, seriously they were, Glastonbury ’94 anyone? No? Twenty years since their debut album Mark Chapman and co. rattle on with another pair of call-to-arms protest anthems. Whilst remaining excellent live, this, like all their recent releases, is Levellers by numbers and thus will no doubt be subjected to much scorn- which is a real shame.

Levellers- A Life Less Ordinary"