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The Music are back! Remix to Download

One of the best about from these fair shores a few years back, The Music, recently announced the release of their third album, Strength In Numbers, on June 16th. Preceding that will be a single of the same name on 2nd June and the band are undertaking a full UK tour in June. Hurrah!

Furthermore, they've put out this download for free. Does It Offend You Yeah? tweak the knobs to new track Fire, a minute long clip of the original song is also available on Youtube (and is sounding much better than this remix admittedly). Nevertheless having seen them play MoHo in Manchester this month it appears that the group are back and strong, good to see that Rob has got his ego back and hopefully they'll be around for a couple of albums yet.



Grammatics- D.I.L.E.M.M.A review

Grammatics - D.I.L.E.M.M.A/Polar Swelling

Simon Jay Catling

Grammatics are a band who sure know how to make themselves contentious; featuring the kind of Foals influenced sharp, angular percussion that’s starting to be the focal point of rather a few too many bands at the moment, and coupled with vocals delivered so sincerely that they’re almost certainly going to be revered or ridiculed, D.I.L.E.M.M.A is nothing short of a bold statement by the Leeds-based quartet.

Which side of the fence am I going to fall on then? Well let’s get some hasty plus points put down here shall we; don’t worry about the Foals thing for although possibly taking influence from the Oxfordshire group, Grammatics display enough know-how to realise when they might apeing Britain’s latest big things a tad too much. In this case it means a roaring, beast of an outro takes the song into an altogether different territory that (whisper it) Panic! At The Disco could probably appreciate. Unique too is lead singer Owen Brinley’s voice; swooning and bleeding across the tapestry of the music behind him, and showcasing an impressive falsetto delivery which again takes the song as a whole into somewhere a bit more bombastic than most of their “math rock” (if such a genre exists) peers. Let’s not get too carried away though, for whilst for the most part the fairly tight, compressed production works on this song, it somewhat lessen the effect of Brinley’s vocals, and when the band choose to whip up a cacophony of noise behind him towards the end it feels like that they could have perhaps stepped it up a couple of notches further in order to provide a bit more contrast between the wistful, resigned verse and the blustering, playful finish. Polar Swelling is again a different animal from the lead track on this double A-side, all crisp hi-hat and chorded synths slowly building behind Owen Brinley’s vocals and even some rather darkness inducing violin. At over six minutes long it is a bit on the long side but its refreshing to see a band willing to show two sides of themselves on the same single.

Grammatics are certainly a band with plenty to give, possessing as they do a certain amount of diversity and willingness provide a challenging yet accessible sound. Now all they need to do is explore some of the less discovered aspects of their sound and we could be onto something very interesting indeed.

Grammatics Myspace

3 stars


Grammatics - D.I.L.E.M.M.A (BBC Radio 1 Session)

Pendulum- Propane Nightmares review

Pendulum - Propane Nightmares (Warner Brothers)
Simon Jay Catling

Dear Pendulum,

There was once a time, when I was younger, when listening to you seemed to be the definitive of being ‘cool’. Your willingness to move drum n’ bass out of the dark, urine-soaked rooms that it had previously inhabited was commendable and as well as making jungle beats that were damn good fun to dance to, you also managed to create some genuinely good music, adding musical genres from outside the typical underground sphere and marrying alternative metal and driving beats the likes that hadn’t been done so successfully since The Prodigy came out firing in the mid-90’s. It is to my disgust then that what I am listening to now, in the form of your new single, is nothing but an over-produced, over-ambitious attempt at a jungle ‘pop’ song. As if heralding the start with a trumpet section nicked from Ronson’s studio isn’t bad enough, you’ve also brought in one of the most generic and uninspiring vocalists these ears have ever had the misfortune to hear. All could be forgiven however if you’d at least provided us with a damn good energy rush when bringing the bass in. However, such is your sleek and shiny production; its addition into the song barely registers, leaving the whole thing pulsating aimlessly through five minutes of absolute mediocrity.

Whilst I am sure you believe that in trying to be different from your peers you are creating new and exciting sounds for us all “rave” to, but please Pendulum could you decide whether you wish to be a band or a drum n’ bass act, because at the moment all you’re providing us with is a horribly half-baked and shoddy form of neither. Yours sincerely.

Simon Catling

1 stars


Future Of The Left Live review for God Is In The TV

Future Of The Left

Roundhouse, 14th April 2008
Simon Jay Catling

Over a year on from their first release and mentions of Jarcew and Mclusky in the same breath as Future Of The Left are becoming increasingly far and few between. Whilst Andy Falkous in particular will probably never be able to completely escape the shadows of his imperious former group, he is at least proving that he is a man for the challenge. Tonight, ably assisted by his increasingly prominent sidekick Kelson Mathis and the man mountain Jack Egglestone on drums, the front man rips through a blistering hour long set that is deserving of a crowd far greater than the seventy or eighty souls dotted around the Roadhouse tonight.

Opener ‘The Lord Hates A Coward’ blisters through the venue and, for all we know, out into Manchester, rounding on those who thought of turning up tonight, only to stay in and do their hair instead. Follow up ‘Plague Of Onces’ builds and builds, hoisting the audience up onto a hook and watching them squirm and wriggle to get free as it pummels relentlessly. It is frankly terrifying that just three men are creating this noise. However, It’s the likes of ‘Small Bones Small Bodies’ and ‘Manchasm’ that really show how Falkous has progressed with his song writing; managing to streamline and filter his rage and energy into three minutes of what could possibly, maybe, if you imagined a bit, be described as pop songs. Certainly they sound more commercial, and in the rousing “Colin is a pussy!” coda of ‘Manchasm’ there contains a line that can be sung over and over again by crowds nationwide. Stopping for some typically non-PC banter in blaming the Kooks for the poor attendance (“I hope they die of AIDS…the nice AIDS though”) is about the only respite we get from this absolute blizzard of sound and to be honest, with this band, that’s exactly how you’d want it. The snarling sarcastic delivery of lines like “real men hunt in packs, that’s what’s expected of us” and “hats are essential for travel in climates of conflict and temperate conditions” married with pulsating percussion and sharp biting guitar makes for a great set list full of energy.

The promoters at the venue should have been roundly flogged for calling a 9:30pm curfew in order for a club night to take place afterwards (“I predict Beastie Boys followed by Rage Against The Machine” Falkous quips) and certainly the crowd let their displeasure show. Whilst bands like Future Of The Left are deprived of widespread acclaim by default of the music they make, those few that do give them an inch will find that they’ll take a mile; rewarding you with energy, passion and plain fun in abundance. As Kelson ended up playing his bass in the crowd and Jack relocated his snare to the top of the PA amps in front of the stage it was hard to imagine that any of the handful of people in attendance tonight haven’t gone away so much as been blown away.

Future Of The Left Myspace


Boy Kill Boy review for Student Direct (University of Manchester student paper)

Boy Kill Boy: Stars And The Sea



Simon Catling

Pick: Do I have to? Promises I guess.

Rating: 3/10

Seriously, who actually listens to Boy Kill Boy? The blurb accompanying this threatens that it’s a record that ‘fans will love, but also one that’s liable to earn them a whole raft of new supporters.’ Sadly upon listening to this it’s likely that the much anticipated raft will most likely be about turning and swimming upstream quicker than you can say “generic indie band”.

A very nagging problem with Boy Kill Boy is that from listening to Stars and the Sea, the signposts leading to their peers and influences are far too obvious; bands who struggle to cut the mustard themselves. The repetitive chorus’s of Kaiser Chiefs? Check; the limited but chart-friendly power chord domination of Maximo Park? In abundance. People began to realise that copycat bands like this were terrible a couple of years ago, thus the world was finally rid of the likes of Larrikin Love, Bromhead’s Jacket and The Others. Please, please let’s consign Boy Kill Boy to the same scrap heap.

A Word Like. Attack. review on Audiocribbler


A Word Like. Attack: Ships Hung In The Sky

Date Reviewed:

URL: www.myspace.com/awordlikeattack

Your Rating:

Simon Jay Catling

Whether the outside world is aware of it or not, “post rock” is suddenly a big thing. Ever since pioneers Mogwai disowned the term, the genre has expanded to incorporate a large range of styles, to the extent where the question of it being a genre anymore is a hotly debated one. A Word Like. Attack are a five piece group from Hampshire and upon to listening to this, their second EP, it appears that the harder edge of post rock has been grown from a seed, allowed to flower and then been fused with a very heavy, hardcore type of plant, to form a beast that occasionally focuses on excellence, but for the most ends up chasing its own tail.

Opening track The Last Man In Europe begins replete with 65 Days Of Static glitchy drums and chillingly isolated piano arpeggios that set the hairs on end, only for the group to fall somewhat flat on their face with the vocal interjection of the lead vocalist, who turns a potentially spine tingling epic into the kind of thrashcore perfected by the now defunct Bear vs. Shark; all well and good except the jarring gear change that heralds this is enough to make you wince. Second track Women Need Not Be Afraid Of Man Eating Sharks is far less schizophrenic- pulsating through a brain drumming, passionate couple of verses and chorus before stripping everything back and building up to a rousing wall of sound finish, in which the vocals are yelped and screamed like a man after Frank Carter’s heart. The midway point is reached with a title track that manages to excite the listener more in its 1 minute 49 second interlude than the rest of the EP as A Word Like.

Attack show that in terms of building up soaring peaks to heighten emotional and hard edged falls, they have a talent. Indeed it has to be said that the musicianship throughout the EP is good; tight percussion and bass allows a monolith of a guitar to let rip throughout the five tracks. The trouble is that the band currently lack the poise to completely implement what are undoubtedly ambitious ideas; the quieter bits can tend to remind you a little of (whisper it now) Linkin Park whilst the switch between instrumental escapism and straight ahead thrash metal is sometimes done at a rate of knots that suggests the work of two different bands within a song. Final track I’ve Seen Dragons With Feet Like Rabbits brings in a synth line towards the end of what is otherwise a track afflicted by that dreaded genre/fashion of Emo, and merely reinforces the fact that at times A Word Like. Attack don’t quite have enough quality control.

This does sound rather overly critical yes, but only because when getting it right, this is a band who will fully deserve our attention, and if they can just form a more cohesive unit in their minds to match their technical skill and broad ideas, we could see something really special. As it is, this isn’t quite it.


Kevin Kane Audioscribbler review (I'm back!)

Ello everyone..

Sorry it's been a while; a quick uninteresting recap for you: I was home for just over three weeks during the lambing season working 7am-5pm every day which meant obviously that writing took a wee bit of a back seat. I returned to uni last Sunday faced with assignments galore so that explains the lack of a podcast last week..it'll be all stations go again this week though I hope although I may be changing it from its Wednesday evening publishing slot. Keep your eyes peeled. However, back I am and writing once again, Audioscribbler included my review of Kevin Kane's current album which I'll put below this drivel and PlayPauseStop should be appearing on Manchester's independent music store shelves again this week. Oh and I'm seeing Future Of The Left tonight which will then morph itself onto paper in the form of a review for God Is In The TV..good to be back!



Kevin Kane: How To Build A Lighthouse

Release Date:
Label: High Voltage

Your Rating:

Simon Jay Catling

Kevin Kane, ex-singer of The Grapes Of Wraith, returns with a third album that couldn’t slide on a dressing gown and pair of slippers more nonchalantly if it tried. A curiously chosen cover version of Pink Floyd’s See Emily Play aside, How To Build A Lighthouse is a set of songs that do little to dissuade the notion that there is a dearth of talent in the singer songwriter genre at the moment.

If one was too root around for a name to hoist Kevin Kane up against these days (as seems the wont with most of us music writer types to do these days), one probably needs look no further than the harmless American college rock of a few years ago; Semisonic, The Posies et al. Kane possesses a voice that’s as competent as it is radio-friendly and dull; indeed upon searching through the English lexicon in order to pluck up suitable vocabulary to describe this album we need delve no deeper than non-descriptive, emotionless adjectives like ‘fine’, ‘alright’, ‘ok’. This will be, to all and intents and purposes, a lazy review; but then this is a lazy album. Opening track Last To Know sets the tone with a typical (for the genre) upbeat chord driven opening with listless vague lyrics about women, relationships and love. When slowing things down and supposedly opening up to us, the singer still fails to grab onto our ears and pin them down.

For Closer, read a typical breaking up song; file Late Night under unrequited love ballad. It takes until the admittedly passable rendition of the early Floyd hit to give this album a much needed set of jack leads, as burbling feedback and noise build up to turn See Emily Play into a simple yet effective American alt. rock stomp of a song that continues to build right up until its finish. This is the catalyst for a rather pleasing pick up in quality as Kane finally let’s go of his desire to drag out three minute pop songs with needless, over produced and stilted instrumentals (see No Postcards). No Black Dots hits with a sharpness and aggression that leaves you wondering if this is still the work of the same seemingly impassive and lacklustre artist. Sadly we’re not out the woods yet, final track Sputnik is as forgettable as it is long and bringing the album to an underwhelming conclusion.

This is an album that changes from being merely bland to actually quite annoying, armed by the end with knowledge, as we are that Kane can, if pushed, create moments that possess emotion and depth. Sadly these are too few and far between and the only thing this album really does is continue to over saturate a market that’s begging out for a new troubadour to drag it out of the gutter- and they do exist: the likes of Jacob Golden and David Ford will reward your listening habits far more richly than the likes of Kevin Kane ever will, and it’s rays of light like this that allow us to shrug our shoulders and turn the other cheek to uninspired releases such as this.


Jarock Weekly Podcast 7 (April 2nd)

1. Troubles- 4th National Account
2. Kyte- Secular Ventures
3. Radiohead- Nude (Single Of The Week)
Official Site
4. The Mae Shi- Run To Your Grave
5. Pulled Apart By Horses- I Punched A Lion In The Throat (Myspace Of The Week)
6. Jonquil- Magdalen Bridge
7. Four Tet- Ribbons
Official Site
8. The Keyboard Choir- Thinking Won't Help
9. Suede- Killing Of A Flashboy (B-side Of The Week)
Brett Anderson Official Site
10. Foals- Two Steps, Twice