Sunday, 20 June 2010

And the Vote is Closed

So... as they say on the telly, "Don't vote now, your vote will not be counted and you may still be charged?" You won't? See, this is why the Internet is better than telly.

It's been a great ride, I've heard some excellent music and next comes the hard work of buying (and I am SOOO damned glad that payday comes in the middle of the week we're downloading because otherwise I would not be able to afford it).

I've been very happy with most of the tracks chosen and so I'm looking forward to downloading them and seeing them get into the charts... although I've realised I've no idea how I'd know what was in the charts anyway, it's not like they have Top of the Pops any more is it?

It's been a season. I've had a few gigs myself, and then again I seem to have developed PTSD (thank you SO much crime Squad!). But I realise that checking out the new tracks in the forty has been a focus for my week so now, like many others, I have to ask... in two weeks time when I've downloaded, THEN what am I gonna do?

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Coming closer to an end

I'm skint right now so I'm glad the downloading for this will be in the week commencing 27 June, because I get paid on 30 June, so I'll be able to download all the tracks chosen, as well as Cinnamon Antics and the Soviets if they don't get in themselves.

I've gone through all the music again and found that the only ones left that I'd download even if Storm the Charts wasn't happening are those two... so at present, that looks like I'll be downloading my third to forty fourth tracks on payday. Maybe I should find a way to get an I-player to play them on. That'd be nice.

Sad to say, it's getting hard to concentrate on the wonderful music I've heard as a result of this campaign. I've stupidly spent my life working in an office when I should have been singing and writing. I'm 50 now and, despite the physical resemblance, I'm not Seasick Steve so it's probably too late. My biggest regret is there was no internet when I was 15 and just starting out as poet/singer/songwriter and later writer of stories and novelist. Somebody should have told me back in Lincolnshire that I really couldn't be a contender because I didn't know people who knew people.

That's why I love this campaign so much. Because now there's a chance to give a hand to some young people who deserve to do very well indeed but don't necessarily have the contacts or the management necessary to get seen (and so taken up by the pop world.

Good luck to all of you even the ones I don't particularly like.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Thought I'd gone?

Well I hadn't. I've been quietly voting on and on but I've also been doing stuff with one of my own bands, Vaccination (and we were awesome thanks, if I may say so myself).

Beside my own egotistical ramblings though, there are still charts to storm. I've noticed some people have complained about having to wait a long time for the bands they want to vote for. I know the arguments on both sides and, while I don't really have an ace to grind, I thought I'd try a few votes one after the other to see how random it might be... so, first vote?

Captcha = at Intel. And the bands are: The Ben Williams Band, Rajko, Inside View, Mamoolian and Beetnik. I shall vote for Rajko and move on to the next vote.

Next Capture = Factotum Juncture... and that's more like it. The bands are: Elektralux, unexamined, Ian M Hale, The Doowops and Tankus the Henge. 10 different out of 10 so far. I prefer the Doowops but I'm gonna vote tactically for Elektralux because I think they have more chance of being in the forty.

Next Captcha - although Balearic. I like some of these. And the bands: Zoon van Snook, Desi Valentine, Electro Sheena, Dave Hughes and the Renegade Folk Band, and 3rd Bar. So fifteen tracks with no repeats. I'm gonna vote for 3rd Bar and move on to the next captcha.

The Yemenis... now that definitely sounds like a band. I'm being asked to choose between: The Words, OneSevenFours, Lead Resonance, Olly Cox and Cellar Door. Twenty tracks and still no repetitions. I shall vote for the Words.

Airborne overdoes says the captcha, not one of their best. The bands are... Alan Neilson, Temple Hedz, The Torrianos, Lippy S, and The Incomparable Bill Zipp. I vote for the Torrianos and still I see no repetitions. Next.

What's the captcha? Common Kennelly sounds not so much like a band but more like the Bodhran player from an Ersatz Irish band from Louisville. And the bands? Nately, Seeking Salvation Through Love, Lex Zaleta, Natubella and Rosered and the Butterflies, so thirty tracks with no repetitions. I'll vote for Rosered and the Butterflies and move on to the next captcha.

Which says Family Keynes. The bands are: Bluesoul Pharmacy, Blind Ego, D'Silva, Thieves Like Us, and Trail. I vote for Trail. Thirty five tracks all different so far.

Ranges 1976 says the capture and then I'm asked to choose between Antonio Lulic, Janey Summer, Venustribes, Vicky Bull and Fiona Sally Miller. Now that's a cruel choice because there are three I would have wished to vote for. No repetitions though and I've listened to forty tracks now. I vote for Fiona Sally Miller.

Next cpatcha says Committee Halicz. This lets me through to The Knower and the Known, 700 000 000, Trader, Mental Health and The Great Escape. Of course, I'm gonna vote for Mental Health. Forty five with no repeats.

Population Novoe. Still no repeats: Eileen Rose and the Holy Wreck, Jo McCafferty, North Atlantic Oscillations, George Kirchner and Two Fingers of Firewater. I'll vote for Eileen Rose and the Holy Wreck and check out the next captcha.

Revenue Wizardry sounds like the slogan for a wannabetrendy firm of accountants. Still no repeats: St Gregory Orange, Golden Section, Atlas&i, Dead Clown Society or Dan Clews? This is just as cruel, I suppose I better vote for Dan Clews.

I'm bored with quoting all the captchas... the bands though are: Jenium, Knew Jerus'lem, The Kickliner, Lakeside Collective, and Casey Fallen. It's hard to choose between Casey Fallen and Knew Jerus'lem but I'll go for Knew Jerus'lem.

Still no repeats in 65 tracks. Lenny Savage, Penny Black, Cinnamon Dreams, Daniella Maria and Arrows of Love. I think I'll choose Cinnamon Antics.

Amoriste, Olivia Broadfield, Indigo, Kamikaze Veterans, and Valhalla Smith. I'm torn but in the end vote for the Kamikaze Veterans.

Then we have the Soviets, Acoustic Jim, David Fernandez, Dark Room Notes, and Black Shades. So 75 and no repeats. I vote for the Soviets.

Inkysmudge, Brave Yesterday, Soul Circus, Some Velvet Morning, The June crush. Eighty tracks and I'm pretty sure this is random now. I've heard, what one in seven of the entrants with no repeats? I'll vote for Some Velvet Morning and call it a day.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Keep on voting.

I'm trying to book a gig for one of my own bands for June (I have a fourth of July party gig for the other) as well as practicing my solo stuff. I'm glad to say my dulcitar playing, while it will never be as good as my singing, will soon at least be good enough for self-accompaniment so I can get gigs without waiting for the others.

Anyway, that's an aside for now... who's my next vote for?

"An recant" says the captcha, which is not so wonderful but you can't have it all. Choices are.

"Shiny Armour" by Mountain of Fire which is a delicious piece of English eccentricity, reminding me of the Rolling Stones Circa 1965.

"Write Back" by MINIATURE DINOSAURS Also eccentric, also delicious but more eighties.

"Too Late" by MAMOOLIAN which is less eccentric but the singer sounds as one might imagine Alex from Clockwork Orange might sound if he chose to sing.

"Crayoned Face" by CASEY FALLEN. I'm a little biased here because this band is in my library on

But despite my bias in favour of Casey Fallen, on this occasion I'm going to vote for Laura Bowen. She sounds a lot like Lily Allen. I hadn't realised when I reviewed this before that she's only like fourteen? Awesome.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Another vote

Okay, I'll choose another of my votes today to blog. Today's Capcha brings me "and Bedrock", which I think could be a band name if "then Jericho" could be.

First choice is Make it alone by Emerald. Competently played rock music what more can I say?

Next is Au Natural by The Compression. They have the everyday indie sound down pat. I could easily be listening to someone else.

Easily You by Jeff Jepson is next. I don't remember whether I liked it before, but today I find this dull.

And then there's Zappa Town by Milk. I remember this interminable intro from before but eventually it starts to sound like Wire which can only be a good thing. I can forgive them the vocals and lyrics in the context of this vote.

But that forgiveness is to no avail because the last entrant is Love is Delirious by Beaux and that's a track I love. It's production is appalling but the song is terrific so that's who I'll vote for this time.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Carrying On

Okay, well I'm not gonna stop. I'm gonna link to GEMIINII RIISIING's homepage and recommend people listen to her cover versions of "Don't Fear the Reaper" and "The Nurse Who Loved Me" as well as her own music. And if you're ever in or around Eugene, Oregon, then go see her.

But this blog is about storming the charts and my experience of it. I've voted for several songs so far and can tell you, I'm disappointed that so many people thought the whole thing about storm the charts was to support particular bands, rather than to hear new music and get it into the charts. I'm much more disappointed than that that some people (whether a band or misguided fans) decided to cheat. It's not surprising the voting system had to be changed... after all, if we cheat, then what's to stop THEM manipulating the charts to make the sex pistols number two again?

The new system is a lot fairer, but I have to say there are about 50 tracks I want to vote for. The odds ought to be that at least one of them is in every other random five but it doesn't seem to work that way, so I find myself voting for records I'm not all that enamoured with. I know... I'll do another vote now and talk you through my reasoning.

So... the capture said "quite can", which is much more boring than some of the choices. But let's see who I've got.

Alita's Curse, Leron Thomas, Stephen Langstaff, Sykes and the Chernobyl Children. From what I remember of listenign before, I think I'd go for Stephen Langstaff, but I'll listen again to be sure.

I'll go to You Tube by preference, because I like videos and because you tube loads quickly, and because I don't have to try to remember which track I wanted to listen to.

Alita's Curse remind me of my late teens, queuing up outside Cambridge Corn Exchange to see Motorhead, but enjoying the Lightning Raiders almost as much. But I'm not bopping around now nor am I the lonely geek I was back in 1979. It's not as exciting as I remembered it... but it's still good stuff, which is a relief.

I get irritated by the time taken for LERON THOMAS's myspace page to decide to load its music player. When it finally does, I have to look for "Fashion". I like it, but I'm not gonna vote for it.

STEPHEN LANGSTAFF's voice is like Feargal Sharkey's and as good as I remember him, although there is a long moment when I wondered if he'd ever start singing. "Saw the Angels" is good stuff even if it does take a while to get going.

No thank you, I don't want to watch SYKES's video again, I'm there to listen to one track lads, not to watch your holiday snaps from the M62. This time, I let my irritation drive me straight on to the next track.

And then it's the CHERNOBYL CHILDREN. I'm sorry, I DID enjoy System of a Down's "Pizza Pie" but "Hot Dog", is not remotely tasty.

So, I'll vote for Stephen Langstaff and on to some more anonymous voting.

Thursday, 22 April 2010


Okay, the voting is going well now, and we've already selected four of the forty. I'm not sure there's a lot of point in me reviewing the remaining hundred and something tracks I haven't yet reviewed, because by now, if people want to vote, they'll have listened to tracks and made up their own minds, which is the purpose of the exercise.

So, the next question is, do I jack this blog in until next year, or do I let it mutate into something else in the meantime. One thing Storm the Charts has shown is that there is a LOT of music out there that is not even being considered by those who decide what will be seen in mainstream media outlets. I'd like to look at some of that so if anyone has any stuff they feel I ought to be listening to, then I'm happy to listen.

I made no secret when I first joined Wes's group of my desire to see an end to the charts and I hoped (and still hope) this campaign would break them. As far as I'm concerned, every radio station should be like BBC radio 6, with people playing music without playlists and just showing what's out there that's good. I think that's something I can do, providing links to music people might not know but might love. Let me know what you think. If people like the idea, I'll start, next time with some music by Jessica Haeckel aka Gemiinii Riisiing, from Eugene, Oregon who just happens to be one of my friends on myspace.

Another idea I have is to talk about my own attempts to "storm the charts". My wife says I'm too old to be serious about music, so do others. But currently I'm playing with two bands plus doing solo work, some duets and a bit of backing singing. It's not what you'd call a career though. Perhaps I'll write about that too, but I don't want to be too boring so, we'll see what happened.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I'm all ears.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

And they're off

I've made no posts for the past couple of days mainly due to a serious attempt by Transport for London to rip me off. On the plus side, I've discovered my negotiation skills are so good, I could probably even successfully manage a Christian Black Metal band (if such a thing isn't a contradiction in terms) or maybe sort out the Middle East.

But that's another story. Voting has been going on and in the process of voting, I've listened to most of the tracks I've yet to review. I don't think I'm going to review all the rest, but there are lots more and I should at least try so here goes... no more pretense at a chart though.

STEVELESS - "The Obligatory Love Song", I'm sorry, I just don't get this. I must be getting old. ***

IONISE - "Reborn". Someone on Join MY Band dot com told me that 'metal isn't rock'. They were joking right? This, for example, is clearly both. This band have potential. ****

THE LAST GRAND - "Alive". Okay Middle of the Road rock. (Can I still say AoR or is this tripple A these days?) ****

CHOKER - "Here". Now this is a great song, my only issue is the singer's phrasing in places but this is easily overcome. Choker will be great. *****

DESI VALENTINE - "Had I Known". This is how rock music is done. ***** plus

ANIELKA - "Grow Up". Nice voice but the song is, if anything too lightweight for what is clearly a powerful voice that deserves better. ****

FUTURE/PERFECT - "The Hunter". It's 1982 and I'm young again but this time I promised myself I wouldn't **** up... at least not in the same way. ***** Plus

ALEX DIGLEY - "Doors". He says his music is Celtic/Grindcore/Zouk. I'm not sure how that would sound but I love it. Is Swci Boscowen the backing vocalist on here? ***** double plus

BRITISH INTELLIGENCE - "Streetfight". A rather heavy electronica with some interesting rhythms. *****

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Top Twenties and the Like...

Here we are, with less than two hours to go before we start voting and I've realised something. The problem is with the charts themselves. There is so MUCH great music out there and yet the charts are limited to similar sounding stuff over and over again. I don't know why this is, but I'm hoping we can break the mould with storm the charts, and hopefully force some other means of measuring success in music.

For what it's worth, here's my top twenty at this late stage, but below that are some tracks that are no longer in my top twenty but I can hardly bear to lose them.

1. Middleman - "Good to Be Back"
2. Emily Needs - "Peacemaker"
3. King Kananga - "Pnosvu"
4. Maroon Town - "Cumbia Infernal"
5. Hysterical Injury - "Three"
6. Zoey van Goey - "We Don't Have That Kind of Bread"
7. The Wailingest Cats - "Hider in the House"
8. Miyagi - "Cry Cry Cry"
9. National Snack - "Rock n Roll"
10. Mental Health - "Bombastic Mind"
11. Ludwig Amadeus - "God Only Knows My Shoesize"
12. Valhalla Smith - "A Portion of Blame"
13. 3rd Bar - "You Are"
14. What Would Jesus Drive - "The Girls Are in Charge"
15. K J McEvoy - "Sleeping Soundly"
16. Antonio Lulic - "The Sound of the Girl Next Door, Singing"
17. The Benwahs - "Comne to Mine"
18. Vile Electrodes - "Play With Fire"
19. Heypenny - "Cop Car"
20. Swci Boscowen - "Min Nos Monterey"

So that's my top twenty but there are other acts could hardly bear not to include. In no particular order: The Soviets; Daniela Maria; Paul van Ryan; Fiona Sally Miller; Doris Brendel; Risa Hall; Knew Jerus'lem; Cinnamon Antics; Dirty Electro; Mr Love and Justice.

I seem to have come up with a top thirty and still have another couple of hundred tracks to listen to.


The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.

NATIONAL SNACK - "Rock n Roll". Does what it says on the tin. ***** Plus. New number 9

IVYRISE - "1000 feet". It's hard to keep coming up with constructive comments for technically good tunes that just don't move me emotionally. ****

LUDWIG AMADEUS - "God Only Knows My Shoesize". The video is awesome, although I doubt it'd get on MTV for fear of legal action. The song is excellent. ***** plus. New number 11.

SHADE AMAN - "A Million Miles". Her voice and musical style remind me of Jill Scott. ***** plus

CHRIS WHITING - "Frank and Honest". This is well done but sounds very nineteen seventies. ***

COLOURS OF ONE - "RLD". Sounds like Toto. Light AoR, perhaps one day it'll be a theme tune. ****

BEN WILLIAMS - "Let It Rain". Foottapping headnodding acoustic deliciousness. *****

LAURA JORDEN - "Give It". Sounds like Motown brought into the twenty first century. What's not to like. ***** plus. This really should have been a top twenty record, but I 've reached the point where there's nothing in my top twenty I can bear to say goodbye to.

Counting Down

There are hours now before the voting begins but there are still tracks I've yet to hear. Time for me to reduce their number.

LANDON - "Bring it On". It's rock music. I like rock music. Unfortunately, it doesn't stand out in any way. It sounds like the soundtrack to an early nineties platform game. ***

CLOCKWORK RADIO - "Lost". It says on their Myspace page that they are 'Alternative, Experimental, Flamenco'. Now that is an awesome concept. Sadly, the track doesn't quite live up to it. ***

IN ISOLATION - "Virus". Now this is better. Sounds like poppy new wave and like water running over rocks. The singer reminds me in places of Kirk Brandon of Theatre of Hate fame. *****

APOLLO 101 - "One More Chance". This would have been a hit in 1975. It's well played, particularly the keyboard, but as a whole feels dated. ****

MONSTERS IN THE ATTIC - "Be Lucky". Now this sounds like good ol' fashioned redneck rock'n'roll and it's very good indeed, sounds a bit like Lynyrd Skynyrd. ***** plus

BURN THE FLEET - "Fictional Children". This band has some great ideas although the execution is perhaps a little harsher than the song deserves. This would be awesome with tighter production but even as it is. ***** Plus

JAKE - "Fire and Brimstone". Reminiscent of Enya's 'Everlasting to Everlasting'. It's an interesting song and not something we hear much in pop records. I understand that Jake also sings in Gaelic, and I'd have preferred to hear that, simply because I would love to hear a Gaelic or Welsh number one. ***** plus. New number 17.

CHRIS SELMAN - "In the Morning". Rather everyday folk. He has a good voice and plays the guitar well. The song is quite pretty but not very memorable. ***

Antonio Lulić - "The Sound of the Girl Next Door, Singing". I find myself singing along. This is a great song. He lives in Hackney but his music is in a great American tradition. ***** Plus. New number 13

BLACKCHORDS - "At World's End". There's an unfinished feel to this. It has rhythm and melody and the singing is good. It comes to life about halfway through but there's still something missing. I wish I knew what it was. ***

MIDDLEMAN - "Good To Be Back". Ebullience and Misery, greagarious loneliness. So many opposites are brought together in this song. The whole thing is brilliant. ***** doubleplus New Number 1.

TEAM BRICK - "Alhazred". I'm a big fan of H P Lovecraft and of North African musical styles. This brings the two together but somehow it disappoints. Only ****

VERSATILE - "Whatz My Name". Come back when you can take it seriously At least put a link to the single itself. No stars

JANEY SUMMER - "Sometimes". This is very good, rock music as it's meant to be. I've certainly listened to it before but I'm not sure whether I reviewed it. Either way *****

ICE BAND - "Look Into My Eyes". The video is teriffic. The song great. Okay, I'm biased because they seem to be my age and if they get in the charts, it improves my chances next year. But I genuinely think it's *****

THE FORE - "I Think You're Pretty". The song's pretty funny. I love it. ***** plus

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Holding Your Breath

The time approaches and there are still more tunes to hear.

ZOEY van GOEY - "We Don't Have That Kind of Bread". Wow! This reminds me of The Beautful South more than anything else. A fantastic pop song and they have an awesome video on You Tube. ***** plus. New number 5

THE FLEAS - "Something or Nothing". Look, I've been good and I get to say "the Fleas Suck" so there. Although in fact, this is great acoustic pop music and they don't suck at all. *****

PETE BRANDT - "Ships in the Night". Sounds like "Dinner Jazz". He has quite a nice voice though. ****

51/50s - "Lies". Rockabilly with just a hint of the Iggy Pops. The singer sounds a bit like the guy in the Commitments. *****

TANKUS the HENGE - "Smiling Makes the Day Go Quicker". Sounds like it ought to be in a musical. Very nice of its type. ****

THE A TRAIN - "Don't Have Far to Go". Tom Robinson likes them. This is a pleasantly melancholy sort of song. It's kind of folky but maybe more like the music that's played in pubs throughout the land. It's good stuff but I can't see it being a hit. ****

THE BAND OF THE EYE - "Why Are You So Awful?". Very clever lyrics. The music's good as well. Not bad. ****

NICK HOLMES BAND - "You Make Me Smile". In itself a very good song in Radio Two mode. In context though, I'd have to say, it's not a strong contender. ***

TRADER - "Watergate". Rocky pop music with a good beat and some nice chords from Wrexham. The singer is very good indeed. ****

JOHN PAUL PALOMBO - "Jimmy". I'll be humming this years from now. Did I review this already? ****

Waiting to Exhale

With the time for voting approaching, I'm starting to wonder how many I can have heard by the time it starts. I have 33 hours left so let's begin.

VALHALLA SMITH - "A Portion of Blame". The Heaviest of metals... (Iridium perhaps, or maybe Osmium) but it doesn't really fit into any of metal's subgenres. This is classic metal as it was in the beginning. ***** plus. New number 6.

POCKET SATELLITE - "Toy Train". This is good stuff. Acoustic and an alchemical marriage between folk, chamber music and rock. The You Tube version is poor and reminds me of a rehearsal. Listen to the Myspace version though and it sounds like it has an outside chance of being a hit. ***** plus

SARAH RUDDICK - "Saving Grace". Mary Margaret O'Hara meets Enya. This is a very good song but I feel the echo effect on the vocals rather spoils it. It could have been better but nevertheless... *****

STEPHEN LANGSTAFF - "Saw the Angels". Excellent guitarist, okay voice, great lyrics, excellent song, the whole thing makes me think of Springsteen: although Stephen sounds completely different there's that kind of vibe. ***** plus

DESERT HOUR - "Idum Breaks". Music like this is best listened to live because the point is never to play it the same way twice. It doesn't sound like it but this is jazz. I loved the repetitive piano when it was going but I think they missed a trick or two. I don't think this will be the ultimate form of the piece. It still needs work but there is some brilliant stuff awaiting the lapidiary's attention. ****

MIYAGI - "Cry Cry Cry". Now this is how I like jazz Miyagi-san. They've taken bits from everyone from Charlie Parker to Essential Logic to Pere Ubu and made something all their own. ***** plus. New number five.

THE BENWAHS - "Come to Mine". Not since Steely Dan (and those in the know feel free to explain in comments the link between the Benwahs and Steely Dan). This is awesome, frenetic pop music. ***** plus. New number 11.

PROJEKT - "The Compass". Electro-Rock. It's very good. Danceable and listenable. *****

KING KANANGA - "Pnosvfu". Damn! These lads sound like Tom Waits, the Stray Cats and the Tigerlillies. ***** Doubleplus. New Number two and would be number one but for Emily Needs.

BG SAINT - "What I'm Hearing". Wes, you have this down as "Cold Manicotti" but BG was the lead singer of Cold Manicotti, which given they were signed by Warner Brothers would, I imagine, not be eligible, I think the band's actually called "Devils, Saints and Pretties" (and not signed to anyone). After all that, it's interesting acoustic pop competently played but the song's just okay. ****

CALL ME ANIMAL - "Generator". This sounds like it was written by a committee. It does everything it needs to do, but like Frankenstein's monster, it needs the spark of lightning to make it live. ***

ODi - "Superman". I believe the record industry category is Triple A. This would make a fine album track and clearly ODi are a band to watch. I don't think this has the hooks for a single though. *****

DONNA MACIOCIA - "Fists at the Sky". She's a fine singer songwriter and no mean pianist. She reminds me of Carol Bayer-Sager with a hint of Kate Bush and Lena Lovich. *****

Friday, 9 April 2010

Trying Again

Okay, if my streaming issues are fixed, then I'll try to review the Freedom givers again.

THE FREEDOM GIVERS - "Whose Side Are You On!" - This sounds like a cross between Carter USM, Chumbuwamba, and Mr Love and Justice. The band can be justifiably proud whatever our opinions on their lyrics. ***** plus

SILVER SERPENT - "The Voice of Doubt". Great bassline, excellent drumming, a fine song and the singer has a good voice. Liked the video but wasn't too keen on the sound production. *****

LE MONNIER - "Black Dot". She's a great bass player but I don't like her voice much. It's not a bad song. Maybe a grower. *****

JOHNNIE TAYLOR - "No Goodbyes". Sorry, I can't like everything. *

THE ASSORTED FAMILY CIRCLE - "Plane Crash II". Nice dramatic popsong. In places the singer sounds like Nick Cave, but he can't keep up that standard. ****

FOOLED BY CHANCE - "Salvation". Hints of the Who mixed in with krautrock and a singer who sounds like the essennce of indie. I have a feeling I've heard this before. *****

Coming up to Voting...

So... let's have a renewed effort... listen to all the great music.

3rd BAR - "You Are". Nice, nice, very nice. Pop music, with electronic beats and some sweet-voiced singers. There is some resemblance to recent Britney Spears and I hope they don't take that as a put down. Britney is good at what she does, and so are they. ***** Plus. New number five.

RAGGED SCHOOL - "Eyes Wide Open". Similar genre, but there the resemblance ends. These boys sound as if they have potential but it will taKe them some hard work to realise it. ***

THE GREAT STATESMEN - "One Way Street". These guys sound like The Presidents of the USA, but with a singer who sounds a lot like Feargal Sharkey. A good pop record. *****

KAGE SPARKS - "World Star". Hippety hoppety pop music that's more pop than hip hop. Some great lyrics, nice beats. The rapping is stronger than the singing. *****

SMIFFY SUMMERSON - "He Was a Soldier". One man and his guitar. A reasonably well crafted song but it doesn't really have the spark that makes a hit. ****

VIRGIN SOLDIERS - "Graduate". Some decent Cello playing to begin with. Later on it stops and the guitar and vocals come in. I think it would have been better if the Cello had continued. It's well played, but doesn't excite me. ****

ATLAS &i - "Sleepless Crusade" - This is a magnificent song and the musicianship is trememndous. The only thing I don't like about it is the singer, but it's still ***** plus

THE LITTLE PHILISTINES - "Judith Cut My Head Off". This is interesting. I'd kinda like to see this in the charts, but I'm not sure I like it myself. It's another of those tracks I love and hate at the same time. ***** plus

THE BIBELOTS - "Devil's Highway". Driving neo-blues that's got me dancing and even singing along. ***** plus. New number 11.

START THE HOURGLASS - "Chapters" - Bombastic Heavy Rock in all it's pomp-filled glory. ****

EMILY NEEDS - "Peacemaker". Worldbeat with ululations and chants in almost but not quite Siouxan. This is completely original and yet it has a beat that grabs hold and won't let go. This reminds me of Patti Smith in all of Her magnificence but with the rage of Marianne Faithfull (in 'Why'd Ya do it?'). ***** DOUBLEPLUS. The new Number one.

OLIVER STAYS - "Constantly Dreaming". This was terrific until the singing started. Please, listen to yourselves. You need a new style. A style of your own and then you'd be magnificent. For now though. ****

THE FREEDOM GIVERS - "Whose Side Are You On?". I'm having streaming problems and having difficulty listening to this track. I'll begin again with them when I get a chance.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Just to recap...

The piece of paper where I'm keeping score is getting pretty tattered, so here's my current top twenty so I can start again with a new one.

1. Maroon Town - "Cumbia Infernal"
2. Hysterical Injury - "Three"
3. The Wailingest Cats - "Hider in the House"
4. Mental Health - "Bombastic Mind"
5. What Would Jesus Drive - "The Girls Are in Charge"
6. K J McEvoy - "Sleeping Soundly"
7. Vile Electrodes - "Play With Fire"
8. Heypenny - "Cop Car"
9. Swci Boscowen - "Min Nos Monterey"
10. Wheeler Street - "Young Man's Wish/Flinglish"
11. Pleasure Mob - "Where's My Money"
12. The Soviets - "The Waitress"
13. Daniela Maria - "Whiskey Dreams"
14. The Sick Livers - "St Pauli"
15. Paul van Ryan - "Find the Right Preacher"
16. Fiona Sally Miller - "Cycle Song"
17. Doris Brendel - "Sorry"
18. Cinnamon Antics - "Endorphins"
19. Risa Hall - "Shooting Stars"
20. Beaux - "Love is Delirious.

This is shaping up after listening to somewhere over two hundred tracks but I'm still not quite half way through.

Today's offerings and perhaps more

So... back from work, plug in the headphones and listen...

CHRIS WARD - "Temptress". Good metal paying but the voice is flat. By the way, I think this band is called Half Past Dead. **

4HOURS - "4Hours". Drive time music, reminds me of Gary Holton and the Heavy Metal Kids. ***

THE CESARIANS - "Running Horse". Military drumming, some great brass playing and a good singer, almost operatic in places, but cabaret at others. Very interesting. *****

KARAOKE for BEGINNERS - "Sound of your Soul". Grunge with just a hint of metal and a singer with a deep voice that sometimes touches on greatness but too often falls short. Nevertheless ***** Plus

DAVID J HARVEY - "This is Real". Nice acoustic piece. There's something feminine about his voice, but it's a great voice. *****

BEAUX - "Love is Delirious". Oh I like this one. I like it very much. Sort of like a robotic folk song with a hint of P J Harvey in the mix. Delicious. ***** Plus. New number 19

ROY SHIELS - "Vessel". Nice rhythm, acoustic sound but the song as a whole doesn't seem to have the spark to bring it alive. ***

B & The HONEY BOYS - "Set My Heart on Fire". Now this is a fairly exciting acoustic piece with energy and passion. *****

THE PRECIOUS 20 - "Around The Sun". They're from Peterborough, a place I know well. They play with a hint of Reggae in the beat and a lot of hi energy pop in the execution. *****

K J McEVOY - "Sleeping Soundly". He has a great voice and this has a beautifully insistent beat. This is just so GOOD. Reminds me of, well K J McEvoy to be honest. He's a fine singer-songwriter from Wexford. ***** Plus. New Number 6

DAN CLEWS - "Move Too Fast". This sounded really good until Dan started singing. That's a shame. ****

THE TRANSPERSONALS - "Hello Hello". They come from Bristol but they sound like the Merseybeats. ****

THE RUBICON - "On The Left Side". This is a pleasant pop song that feels right up to date. They are offering this as a free download, which to my mind rather defeats the point of Storm the Charts. *****

THIRD LIGHT - "Leaders and Followers". A strong pop record, with just a hint of several indie bands from the last twnety years. Very well packaged. *****

ONE MAN and HIS BEARD - "Magic Sam". This is punk. I quite like it. ****

THE UNSTABLE TABLES - "The Great American Dream". Ominous bass with a spoken voice reminiscent of John Lennon, although they come from Newcastle. This would work better with more of a Talkin' Blues style I think. ***** Plus

ROB MOB - "Agony". It's not agony to listen to it. It's good. Reminds me of the Damned. *****

ALL FOR THE FALL - "Breathe in Oceans". This is Heavy Metal and it is a fine example of the species. ***** plus

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Keep on Keeping On

With not so much time available today (caused by another, less important vote) I'll only have time for one post so here it is.

SUSAN BLUECHILD - "Sunrise". She's from Dublin. I LOVE the video so much. Like her voice. Sounds like a kind of country-pop style to me. Not bad. ****

ACRYLIC IQON - "No Danger". This is a slow starter but builds up as the song goes on. It works best when the male and female voices are both prominent as if they're arguing with each other. *****

MILK - "Zappa Town". From Leeds. There's an early eighties feel to this, like a poppier Killing Joke perhaps. I'm not too keen on the singer but nevertheless ***** Plus

PLANETZIM - "Relinquish Control". Sounds like a Southern George Formby on some serious drugs. I love it and I hate it but I love it more. ***** Plus

CASEY FALLEN - "Crayoned Face". Complex Rhythm, doomy chords almost metallic, a voice that fits the whole thing. ***** plus. New number 17

DORIS BRENDEL - "Sorry". This is a great song. It deserves to be a hit. Her voice sounds a little like Bonnie Tyler but the playing is something new, something good. ***** plus. New number 14

LAURA BOWEN - "The Other Girlfriends' Club". I hope she won't be offended when I compare her to Lily Allen. The track is more rock-based though. Terrific. ***** plus. Now number 17.

TWO FINGERS OF FIREWATER - "Ride Out". Sounds like Ragtime. It's jolly and bouncy and kinda cute. Very pleasant. ****

JONNY WALKER - "Midnight in Memphis". Sings about Delta Blues and Rockabilly but doesn't play either. He sings and plays well but the song is average. ***

WHEELER STREET - "Young Man's Wish/Flinglish". I can hear the influences of The Who, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, The Dubliners and the Pogues. They've been spun in the food-processor and produced something charming and brilliant. ***** plus. New number 8

VILE ELECTRODES - "Play With Fire". This is a great song. The lyrics are kind of trite but that doesn't matter. As a whole this is a fine pop song. ***** plus New number 6.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

Okay, I admit it, after listening to so many tracks of varying quality, I'm becoming a little jaded. Besides, I'm going back to work tomorrow and won't have as much time so from now on, the comments will be shorter, except of course when I come across a track so jawdroppingly magnificent and utterly original that it needs more than the standard one liner and a star rating. So, without further ado...

PENGUIN PARTY - "Song for my old lady". Interesting Western Style acoustic. ****

JULIAN SHAH-TAYLER - "Wetter". Rocker from Los Angeles with lost of energy. Voice grows on you. ****

STEVE SHADFORTH - "Wonderland". Dull AoR from Germany. **

BEARFOOT BEWARE - "The Elegant Philanthropist". An unholy alchemical marriage between Eddy Cochrane and The Knack! ***** Plus

VICKY BULL - "Love Letters". She's also known as 'Doll'. Interesting acoustic piece. Not keen on the recording. *****

HUCKSTER - "Wild Girls". Boy band voices on exciting innovative electronics. *****

THE JUNE CRUSH - "Better Lovers". From Minnesota. From the Seventies. **

INSIDE VIEW - "Cry". Great rhythm, dull voice redeemed by some nice high notes. ***

THE BARENTS SEA - "O Brother of Mine". Nice Acoustic style. Very good voice. Nice lyrics. Nice song. Mounting excitement. ***** Plus. New number 19.

RISA HALL - "Shooting Stars". Wow. Terrific voice, country rock stylee from Manchester. Songs like this make listening to the others worthwhile. ***** Plus. New Number 13.

RORY ELLIS - "Passenger". Western Style, Acoustic, with a hint of the blues and a voice like Nick Cave. ***** Plus.

ALLMAN BROWN - "House of Spirits". Good voice, average guitar playing. He sounds a lot like Tracy Chapman. Not a great recording but a great song. *****

CELLAR DOOR - "Win Some Lose Some". Acoustic, Alternative meets New Country. Good singer. ****

DAINA ASHMORE - "Brewing". Good rhythm, clear, sweet voice, good lyrics. Could have been a hit in Nashville. ***** plus New (albeit temporary) number 20.

STUART ANTHONY - "Easy Sky". Neil Young meets Dire Straits. ****

JAMES McDERMOTT - "Cross Your Heart". Great voice. Boring Song. ***

MENTAL HEALTH - "Bombastic Mind". Publc Image Limited mixed with the late lamented Fuzzbox. ***** Plus. New Number three!

VIENNA DITTO - "Long Way Down". Wonderful, electronic psychobilly. ***** plus.

JEFF JEPSON - "Easily You". I like Acoustic music normally but this is boring and his voice is weak. ***

LOS SALVADORES - "Empty Boxes". Punky attitude with violins in an unconventional love ballad set down the market. *****

PAUL SHEVLIN - "You Won't Last The Night". Awesome piano playing. Okay voice. Great song. ****

MAROON TOWN - "Cumbia Infernal". I admit bias. My wife was born in St James but spemnt a lot of her childhood in and around Maroon Town, Jamaica. This is different to almost anything else that's been entered so far. A merging of Soca and Samba rhythms with Ska-style brass and reggae style. And I'm beginning to wish I'd paid more attention to the dance when the lovely Senovia from Barquisimeto tried to teach nineteen-year-old me to Salsa. ***** Plus New NUMBER ONE!!!

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Before I was Interrupted

I was closing the gap I mentioned, so let's continue.

CLAIRE PORTMAN is a singer songwriter from South London. I'm sorry to say that I find "All Yours Now" rather humdrum. The guitar playing is somewhat pedestrian and her voice is average.

HARRY HARRIS is also a singer songwriter, from Builth Wells this time. His guitar playing is much more interesting, sounding almost like a banjo picking style, though I guess it's probably not. His voice is good and the song "Rings" is better than many. Good though, but not great.

FADED CADENCE play melodic sort-of folkish music with an indie, maybe even an emo feel. "Valediction" is a gem, well crafted, voice, guitars and violin working together with the piano to make something a bit special. Sadly though, not special enough to make my top twenty.

DEAD CLOWN SOCIETY play experimental acoustic music. I can't see what's experimental about "Lost at Sea" though. It's a saccharine-sweet little folk ditty, with nice guitar work, sweet voices and I think a Melodeon?. It's brilliant and beautiful but it's not as good as the Ruby duValls, so it's not top twenty material.

have offered us a rather dull acoustic number called "Half Cut". Like so many songs I've been hearing, it's not so much bad as lacking in anything wonderful to make me scream and shout. That's five minutes of my life I'll never have again. I wish I'd smoked another cigarette before I gave up seventeen years ago.

have been listening to Peaches and perhaps Lady Gaga. "The Climax" is an exciting electronic piece and could be a big club hit. I'll enjoy it when I hear it then, but I can't imagine buying it.

MOTHERS AUXILIARY have entered a real experimental-acoustic piece called "Duke". The singers in the chorus sound really strange, beautifully strange. It's number eighteen in my top twenty, so I'm shocked to have to say goodbye to the Ruby du Valls. Given the excellence of some of the tracks I've heard, I'm beginning to think this will really work.

DARKROOM PROJECT are a rock band. "Shot Down" is a great rock song. It reminds me of... oh I don't know who it reminds me of, wasted youth, cider and spliffs at the vicarage tea party, the whole panoply of youthful indiscretion. It's my new number 11, we say goodbye to Knew Jerus'lem and Ten City Nation are the new number 20.

The LOVEDAYS offering, "House of Cards" is a well produced pearl of perfect pop. It'll go far but great as it is, there are many many great bands in this campaign.

THE STORM SOCIETY have a nice looking myspace page. Sadly, I found the song "Miles Away" disappointing. I've heard a lot of good and great songs over the past couple of weeks. This one however, is mediocre.

The LAYNES are from Scotland. If "Tuesday" is anything to go by, they're also from 1962.

PLEASURE MOB are another cup of bovril. "Where's My Money" had me nodding along right from the start. This is excellent. It's funy, how I'll listen to so many tracks and try to convince myself there good because of this or that aspect. Then along comes something like this to remind me what 'great' is all about. This is my new number five and Mother's Auxiliary move down to number 20.

THE Q are most definitely a mod band in the finest tradition of Roger Daltrey's merry band of troubadours (The Who? exactly). On "through your eyes" they sound like a cross between the Who and the Tom Robinson Band. Interesting combination. Carry on lads. Well done.

HEYPENNY sound like an arty K-pop version of Buggles. "Cop Car" is my new number four. It's idiosyncratic, rhythmic, exciting and just plain far out. 'Nuff said.

Filling the Gap

So, there's a hole in the new(ish) entrants, so let's fill it so I don't get lost.

GREEN EMBERS play a nice enough tune. "Learning Life" deserves to be the sound track in a movie probably a coming of age movie. It's a fine piece of music but not a patch on my current number twenty, Like a Couple of Virgins, by Parallel Animals.

WOODEN PIGS are from Bournemouth. Why not? They play fast paced pop music spoiled slightly by an unpleasant drone going through "The Light of Day", but spoiled more by a singer whose voice I just don't like.

THE GLASS APPLES are much slower, almost as slow as the Swans, but on "Shining Down" the slow rhythm works well with a singer who has just a hint of Nick Cave in his makeup and with a second complimentary rhythm that makes some fine syncopation. It's not one for my top twenty but it is a fine track nevertheless.

MEN IN CAVES ought to be awful, with a repetitive bassline, tinkling pianos and a singer whose voice sounds like one of the most contrived I've ever heard. The thing is though, "The Funniest Thing" is interesting, gets my foot tapping and might well be the dark horse in this particular race. It's in my top twenty at least temporarily as it replaces Parallel animals at number 20.

SYKES are optimists. They say so. "I'm the optimist" they say. I can't stand their myspace page, but the music on the other hand is better than mediocre. Actually, it's very good but Men in Caves are still at number 20.

COFA TREE are a modern folk band from Coventry. "Alone After Midnight" starts slowly and then goes into a reggae beat before the singers come in. The man has a much better voice than the woman. The song is good, even great but again, this doesn't quite make my top twenty.

RED SNAPPER say they're an experimental band. They combine an African drumming style with some fine sax playing, interesting synth noises and a singer with a voice that, while not strong, is fairly interesting. "Loveboat" is my new number sixteen and so the Ruby Du Valls are the one to beat.

So what do we have today?

Only one new track has been added since my last post, so let's start with that.

MARK CARROLL is a singer songwriter who has entered ".mp3 People". It's from his album 1 Simple Man. He is a great songwriter and a good pianist but as a singer, he sounds too humdrum and everyday for my taste. If he wrote a song for most of the bands who have entered this year, he'd have a couple of hundred hits on his hands. I'd also like to see him write the music for a West End Stage show. He is that good but I can't see this track as a hit unless he gets someone else (such as Ruthie Henshall, who has also sung a couple of his songs) to sing it.

THE DIRTY DISCO have entered "White Room", which, sadly, I can't find on their myspace page but with a little detective work, I tacked it down to Last fm, where it's available as a free track (surely some mistake here Wes?). It's a good solid foottapper with some great (and very funny lyrics) over something that sounds like Stomu Yamash'ta on happy pills. This is not quite top twenty but it's close, and if this is not the track they meant to enter, then I'll listen to the other as well.

SECRET CINEMA BAND are an experimental rock band but their song "Official Neck for the Rope" sounds like Neil Young until the reggae guitars come in after a while, and the singer, reasonable to that point slips into delicious hysteria. I can hear what they're trying to do with this track and it's a magnificent adventure which sadly, doesn't arrive where it needs to. They'll get there though and if they haven't been signed by a big label, I hope they try again next year.

PARALLEL ANIMALS sound more jazzy than the alternative/indie label they attach to themselves on their website. They bring to mind Lou Reed, circa Coney Island Baby, playing along to the Tommy Dorsey band. "Like a Couple Of Virgins" has hooks, it's catchy, why it's positively barbed. I love it. It's in my top twenty albeit at number 19 so Revere are the new number 20 and the one to beat.

I've heard quite a lot about COURTEOUS THIEF from Colwyn Bay. "Don't Look Down" is great, but not as great as I expected. This could easily be a hit regardless of my disappointment. It just makes my top twenty and Revere drop out.

GRAND CENTRAL are an okay rock band. "Take My Hand" is very good. The thing is though, I've heard better. It's AOR if we still use that term. Sorry lads, the spark seems to be missing.

SLEEPING WITH GIANTS have entered "Kings and Queens". The production values are awful and, while I imagine they could be great with proper production, like a folky version of Frankie Goes to Hollywood, it's not somethign I can overlook in the light of so many brilliant and brilliantly produced tracks from so many other bands.

BYRON NIKO from Birmingham plays Disco House Music. If "My Pedestal" is anything to go by, he doesn't do it very well. That said, the words of the song are absolutely brilliant. As a singer, he's a brilliant poet.

THE HYSTERICAL INJURY on the other hand, are [expletive deleted] awesome. It's hard to characterise them, distorted bass, killer rhythms, hysterical singer, they rock. "Three" is my new number 1, which means Courteous Thief drop out and Parallel Animals are the team to beat.

HEAVY LOAD are a punk band. The singer sounds a little like Steve Ignorant. But I can't imagine Crass would be interested in doing a song about "Bruce Forsyth" and a bunch of other older celbrities. It has a really nice bass line though. That's all.

BLACK SHADES begin "Feed The Junkie" with some Enoesque ambient noise that lasts long enough to get on my nerves before the beat comes in. It's a good beat, danceable, but I find myself waiting too long for interesting stuff to happen. I've played in bands like this and it's a lot of fun but this sounds like it was recorded live with no thought going into production. I know what they're trying to do here but it doesn't work on this showing.

Saturday, 3 April 2010


Third post in one day, but there's a lot to get trhrough and I want to hear it all.

JENNIFER EVER is a singer songwriter from a town called Shirley in British columbia. She plays a mean piano and writes good songs if "Goodnight" is anything to go by. She sounds like so many other emotional Canadian female singer songwriters. I'm not judging her against them though. I'm judging her against Daylight Saving and good though this is, it's not top twenty material, at least not in the week in question.

GAF GAM GAF MAF are from Skopje. They're a doomy alt-rock band with a fine violinist to add a certain something. I'm not as impressed by their singer though, but I can imagine "Faith" getting into the charts on its own. I might have thought this was top five material before I started counting but it doesn't quite make my top twenty, although I have to say it came really close and with a different singer, I might have called it top ten.

ARROWS OF LOVE have an energetic drummer and a singer who sounds like a Norwegian Death Metaller having a go at Gothic music. Those are the highlights, but "Burn This Town" is less than the sum of its parts. Quite, quite average.

REVERE say "We Won't Be Here Tomorrow". The song is poppy and upbeat in ways I found surprising. I should hate this but I don't... the singer sounds like a parody of miserablism, the drummer sounds like he learned his skills in the army, and the other musicians have escaped from a mutant circus. This is a new number 17, so the new one to watch is Tinker Jack.

I don't think I've listened to CINNAMON ANTICS and "Endorphins" sounds such a superb slice of pop perfection that I cannot imagine having overlooked it. Tom Robinson seemed to have enjoyed it too. This is the new number nine, so Trabant is the one to beat right now. This is getting harder and harder, sicne I'm more and more reluctant to see my existing favourites go.

MAMOOLIAN are from Worcester. They play high energy, intelligent pop music that makes me think back to the Vapors. "Too Late" is good, but so is Aj Aj Aj and so Trabant remain at number 20. A great track all the same.

EMPHASIZE are five lads from Croydon, and "Time Bomb" is a new look at the music beatniks once bobbed their heads to. The beat is great, chords terrific, words and the singer are fantastic. So.. it's byebye to the boys from Stockholm as the boys from Croydon muscle in at number 11.

More listening pleasures

This is the rest of the tracks Wes has put up so far today.

LOSTAURA are a good pop band. I wouldn't mind if "One in a Million" gets into the charts because it's a good track, but it's not one I like enough to add to my top twenty.

THE CHERNOBYL CHILDREN have decided to enter a 'comedy' record entitled "Hotdog". It isn't very funny so that kind of defeats the point. I think it's vying for my new least favourite.

BRASCOE are very clever at making aural sculpture, but I wouldn't call "Better One" a song, or even a tune. It seems more like a game musicians play when they're bored. Know what? So am I. The vocals are okay though. This would be improved by leaving out the first 105 seconds.

BEETNIK are a rhythmic electronic dance music combo of some kind and "Hoodlum" is a fine side for boosting dancing on the floor at an exclusive West End club or at a rave. Thing is, I don't think Beetnik's core demographic would dream of buying this record if the plebs were buying it as well. It's actualy not bad but it's over six minutes long and that exceeds my attention span by geological epochs.

DAVE HUGHES AND THE RENEGADE FOLK PUNK BAND do pretty much what it says on the tin. "The Sinner and the Saints" is a fine example of the genre. They sound a little like the Waterboys but they're not and sadly never will be. I'm disappointed because I love this kind of music but sadly this isn't as good as it should be (or at least it's not as good as Long Tall Shorty). I imagine they have some much better tracks they haven't chosen to enter though.

YUNIOSHI have produced something that sounds like the backing track for a cold war thriller. It's done very well but "Thunderbird" needs a better vocalist. But for that, this might have made my top twenty, which is good because I was starting to think I might just have been listening to the dregs. Thanks for that lads.

DAYLIGHT SAVING are from Canterbury. They play rather jazzy pop. I imagine I might enjoy this down at Smolensky's or the Jazz Cafe and they are good enough to get a gig there. "Rain" comes into my top twenty at number seventeen so we wave goodbye to Long Tall Shorty and the new number twenty is Shrag.

THE INCOMPARABLE BILL ZIPP is on Decorum, home of the Wailingest Cats and An Axe. "Forever Blue" is good stuff but sadly doesn't quite make my top twenty. That said, Decorum is now my favourite label and I'm going to be looking out for their stuff from now on.

LAKESIDE COLLECTIVE play a jazzy-latin kind of acoustic music. "A Road Not Hard to Find" is pleasant enough but, while it doesn't grate on the nerves like other tracks, is still not top forty material.

KITA AND THE HAT seem to have recorder "Caminos Groove" backward. I'm surprised not to be overwhelmed with subliminal messages. There's a reason why Philip Glass is a classical musician and not a pop star. Next.

KEVIN CUNNINGHAM aka Big KC is a singer songwriter. He sounds like Chris de Burgh busking on the tube. "Anything for You" is top thirty stuff but as we all know, I'm learning just how much great music is around there so this is not quite wonderful enough for my top twenty.

AMY BLUE on the other hand, is damned good. "Yellow House" could have been made by Nirvana at their height. Sadly the singer's voice isn't quite as good as Kurt Cobain's but that really tells us the standard we're thinkign about now doesn't it. I'm doing the poor guy down because he doesn't sound as good as Kurt. how Could I? This is number 11 now so sadly Shrag drop out and Opal Sky is the newnumber 20.

AMY JAY GIBSON has entered "Cycling Song" she has an awesome voice and this is a great song. Sounds like country music played by a punkette who lived through the Battle of Blair Mountain. This comes into my top twenty at number 8 and now IFU are the new band to beat at number 20.

THE SICK LIVERS sound like a psychobilly band crossed with Laibach. "St Pauli" is high energy RAWWWWK n ROOOOOLLLLLLL. I've never been to Hamburg but it sounds fun. This is now number 6 and Daylight Saving becomes the new band to beat.


More to listen to so let's carry on. The first thing I have to say is, after listening again, the Wailingest Cats are my new number one, so the current tracks against which new ones are judged are: The Wailingest Cats (1); Daniella Maria (5); Dirty Electro (10); and Toob (20).

STRYCHNINE POISONING sound like a Heavy Metal band (I couldn't begin to guess at the subgenre) and they do what they do very well. "Filthy Whore" though is, if anything, too "nice" for metal. This may become a classic in its time but it's more for dancing than listening.

AARON COHEN has a good voice and plays a mean guitar. "Raise a Glass" is a fine song with a relentless beat that suits Aaron's voice. He's the new number 20 for a while but probably won't stay there for long unless I've already heard the best 20 tracks.

DAVID GARSIDE from Birmingham has produced what sounds like a brass-heavy rollicking piece of pop. "Don't be Scared" sounds like it should be the theme tune to a seventies detective show. I'd make it an instrumental though. The lyrics aren't very impressive but niether is his voice. On the whole I'd say this is probably somewhere in the high fifties.

THE TOI are a funk band from Glasgow. They're very good at what they do, hence the upcoming German tour. "Think About You" sounds almost like a slightly rockier version of Mustang Sally. It's great but it Aaron Cohen is, in my opinion, better so it doesn't make the top twenty even for a moment.

THE DRAMA are Swedish. "Cash is King" they say in an unrelentingly miserable way. There was a moment when I thought, the singer was too good for the band, but that was wishful thinking. I just don't like this.

THE RUBY du VALS are interesting. "The Ballad of Will Kane" brings to mind murder ballads and westerns and the songs sung at hangings. They play with a driving beat and the singer reminds me of all sorts of people from Toni Basil to Courtney Love. This is great. It's the new number 13, so Toob drop out and Woodpigeon are the new number 20 (sorry Aaron Cohen).

JONT are competent performers and the singer has a good voice. "All My Life" feels middle of the road to me. Nothing exciting here I'm afraid. If I hadn't heard so many brilliant tracks lately, I'd really like this track, but I guess I'm kinda jaded and crave originality and passion.

ROXANNE EMERY plays a gentle guitar but her voice grates on my nerves in places. That said, "Late" is a great song. Even the irritating note in her voice adds to the whole. As the song goes on, it gets better. It's in my top twenty at number 14 so Woodpigeon drop out and Long Tall Shorty take their place at number 20. Roxanne's playing at the Hope and Anchor tomorrow and if I can get the wife to come along, I may well be there.

WHITE PIGEON are a rock band from Guildford. "Sea Devil" reminds me of Steppenwolf and Golden Earring, with just a hint of Sweet to tone down the seriousness. They're not as good as Long Tall Shorty, but this is still a great track.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Something for the Weekend

Time to listen to some more. After my last post though, I have to think how it compares to Emily Barker (20), Ten City Nation (10), Paul van Ryan (5) or What Would Jesus Drive (1). I'll begin with Dave Selby's band because he asked me nicely. (Even if he did say he was number 96 and I found them at number 91).

Dave's band are called HOUSE PARTY and they have entered a hard rocking number called "Goin' Off Big Time". It's great stuff, highly energetic, in the Indie Style. By the sound of it, House Party must be a great live band. I might well have called this a top five track if my top five hadn't grown to a score so. Sorry Dave, but I prefer my existing number 20, ("Nostalgia" by Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo).

Now, since Wes has added more, I'll go back to running the red queen's race to catch up with the newly added stuff.

MATTHEW KILFORD seems to have something of a following. Listening to "Know by Now", I can see why. His video looks professional and the music is nice and mellow, but with interesting lyrics. I'm afraid it doesn't make my top twenty though although yesterday, I'd've called it a top ten track.

AN AXE have, I think, entered a track called"An Axe Black Flame". It starts with some piano chords that would make Schoenberg cream. Then it slows into something trite and forgettable. There's a nice rhythm to it but that's about all I can find to like.

THE CAPITAL YEARS habve entered "You Can Stay There". I'm not keen on the video but the song sounds like the Beatles (or more accurately, The Ruttles). While I'm not a big beatles fan, I can recognise a good parody when I hear it. It's good.

THE RALFE BAND play some fine country folk music with just a hint of Polka. While "Fiesta Song" doesn't make my top twenty, it's still a great record and it'd get me up and drunkenly dancing like yer Dad if it was played at a party. Oh yes, this really is good stuff.

WOODPIGEON probably take the prize for longest songtitle with " the ship went down you never looked finer". It begins with the kind of percussion instruments I'd buy from Hobgoblin Music if I were richer. Then there's a piano and strings and some kind of bell before the voice comes in. The vocals are almost heavenly. At first, I found myself thinking this ought to be much better than it is. The song is made up of a collection of brilliant parts that took a while to gel together. The beginning is not good, the record is flawed, but toward the end, it soars to greatness. This is my new number seventeen and so from now, my twentieth is Ghost in Mirrors.

SHRAG describe themselves as 'other, other, other' but "Rabbit Kids" sounds to me like a
glam rock band from the seventies but with Lily Allen fronting, and strangely what sounds like a little influence from DMX. Okay, maybe it is original or at least assembled in an original way. It's a new number 16 and so Steve Finn's the new one to beat at number 20.

play an umptempo beat but the singer is dreary. "Feel That You Own" it doesn't move me I'm afraid. There's not much to say about it. It's not awful but there have only been two or three tracks so far that really were. This isn't in the top hundred.

OMG, the JOOLS RIMMER PROJECT are football fans and they've written an England song. "Kings of the Beautiful Game" sounds very much like England's 1970 single "Back Home". I remember the shock as a ten year old when I heard Bonetti was going to be in goal instead of Banks. Thanks lads but you're still not top hundred material.

After listening to SARAVIAN's whiney acoustic version of "Wild Free and Beautiful" on you tube, I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt and listen to the version on her Myspace page. It's better. She's a good guitarist and an okay singer but I still don't like the song. Note to self, never right songs about lost loves because Alanis Morrisette has already done it better.

are on the same label (Decorum) as An Axe but they are MUCH MUCH better, The Cramps, meet the Birthday Party (with Damo Suzuki instead of Nick Cave on vocals) and the Stray Cats, and some Brazilian Psychobilly band like Os Catalepticos. "The Hider in the House" is my new number 10 so Toob are the ones to beat now at number twenty.

My Top Twenty So Far

I've listened to about a quarter of the entrants so far and found that my so called "top five" had over a dozen tracks in it. So, I thought I'd list a top twenty of the hundred and several tracks I've listened to so far. These are the ones I'm comparing with from this point on.

1. "The Girls are in Charge" by What Would Jesus Drive
2. "Min Nos Monterey" by Swci Boscowen
3. "The Waitress" by The Soviets
4. "Whiskey Dreams" by Daniella Maria
5. "Find the Right Preacher" by Paul van Ryan
6. "Cycle Song" by Fiona Sally Miller
7. "Crash System Control" by Red Light
8. "We the Chartists" by Mr Love adn Justice
9. "Filthy Dirty Sex Music" by Dirty Electro
10. "Silent Disco" by Ten City Nation
11. "Non Apologetix" by Knew Jerus'lem
12. "Aj Aj Aj" by Trabant
13. "Baby be Lonely" by Tinker Jack
14. "I Want You" by IFU
15. "The Blue of You" by Opal Sky
16. "Turn It Up" by Long Tall Shorty
17. "Unsound Skin" by Toob
18. "Hail to the Thief" by Steve Finn
19. "Ryder's Dismount" by Ghost in Mirrors
20. "Nostalgia" by Emily Baker and the Red Clay Halo

Obviously these will change as I listen to more of the excellent music entered for Storm the Charts. This looks like a terriffic campaign.

Another day, Another two eurocents.

Well, looks like Wes has added another four this morning, so let's have a listen to those, and then I'll think I'll have a listen to some of the oldest ones again.

WHAT WOULD JESUS DRIVE play a kind of electro-metal fusion. "The Girls Are In Charge" is a fantastic pop record fusing the two together. I absodamnlutely love this. And Rianne Rowlands' You Tube animation is brilliant as well. Yet another for my top five.

THE WILL DC PROJECT have entered their charity single, "Fly", which will raise money for the Kent Air Ambulance. It's kind of okay, but it's only the charity angle that might make me include it in my top twenty. It seems churlish to review it in any detail though. It's a good cause and deserves credit for that.

THE TROUBADOURS remind me of Oasis. "Gimme Love" is trite and I find it rather tedious now I've listened to so much. I'd've liked it a week ago but even then I'd be saying only top fifty.

are kinda fun. I like "Polka" very much. It's about having fun adn it is fun. It's like a punk band that was influenced by the Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band. (Indescribable, original and very very good). Top Twenty, maybe even top ten if my top ten wasn't filled with my enormous top five).

So. Those are the new ones but let's have a look at some of the oldest ones now, ones I haven't mentioned of course.

ELEKTRALUX are a five-piece who produce catchy music with a strong rhythm dominated by some idiosyncratic keyboard playing and with multiple instruments turned into pearls. I love the song but am not so convinced by the singer. Still, "Missing Out" is a definite top twenty in my mind.

LOUNGETREE are from Wolverhampton and "Conscious Killer" is a driving country-blues fusion that reminds me of ZZ Top but with a faster rhythm. I'm up and dancing. I'd probably wait for the album but nevertheless this is at least borderline top twenty.

ZOON van SNOOK are from Bristol. The video for "Bibliophone" is awesome but I found the song complete pants. To my mind it's the second worst out of the ones I've seen so far... and that's even taking into account one of the best videos I've ever seen.

MANUEL da COSTA is a singer songwriter from Manchester. His playing is excellent, his singing somewhat better than okay. Unfortunately his song "Once Bitten Twice Shy" doesn't impress me very much. It's a shame because he does have better stuff available, but for this particular song, I'd have to say it's good but not great.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Later without Jools Holland

Well, it's later, and I have never presented the Tube nor been a member of Squeeze.

GOLDEN HOURS from Reading, presented us with "Wash the Night Eyes". It's a simple tune with a strong rhythm and a singer with a unique voice. It delights the ears but barely touches the heart. Technically brilliant but I don't love it as much as I feel I should.

PAUL van RYAN has done a wonderful video for "Find the Right Preacher". He doesn't sing well, but he doesn't really try to. Merely speaks in rhythm over some excellent piano playing. It's a wonderful song with great lyrics. I love it. Top five I think. Higher still if I thought MTV would play the video.

"Fountains" by CUBA CUBA could have been on the famous 1977 New Wave album (the one with the Ramones, Patti Smith, the Damned, Talking Heads, Richard Hell and so on). It's much more poppy than many of those bands though. Perhaps a better comparison is the Teardrop Explodes. Sadly this doesn't fulfil its promise.

KIDS LOVE LIES is a great name for a band. "Stars" is their entry. Sadly, I found it boring. I usually give this kind of music the benefit of the doubt purely on the grounds of a brilliant singer. In this case though, while she's very good, she's not good enough to make up for the deficiencies in the band. If I was working for Sounds, this would be two and a half stars.

MY LUMINARIES show how it's done with their track, "Parasol". They are a band that work well together to produce something well rounded, danceable, melodic and just a little bit edgy. The singer plays a little like Glenn Barclay. This song has passion and great performance but I don't think it's one of the twenty best (close though. Very close!).

JOE BUTT plays "Same old Same old". I might have said that says it all, but in fact it's original with great lyrics and a catchy tune. Better than average I'd say.

Poissons d'Avril

Today I've waited until after noon to make sure nobody thinks my comments are April Fool jokes.

Let's start with ECHOES, from Manchester, whose track "Hypnotised" begins with what could have been power chords on another instrument. There's even a hint of a choir, but this is not heavy metal. It's what I used to understand by 'indie' back in the day. It's danceable, tuneful, fairly pleasant. It's nice. Kinda like Oasis if they [oasis] were more tuneful and possibly even talented.

MOSCOW DRIVE are similar in style but with a better singer. "Colossal" sounds like a pretty good album track or perhaps a moment from the soundtrack of a film. Not one of my favourites though, at least not as a single.

McGRAWS LAW got my feet tapping and head nodding along to "Great Divide", so it's definitely catchy. Shame we can't enter something like this for the Eurovision song contest. We might actually win it. Not bad.

SEVEN SUMMERS are the traditional guitar band and "Way to Be" is good old-fashioned AOR. I can't imagine buying it, nor would it make me get up and dance.

TIGER SHADOW are a lively bunch from Leeds. "Escape" is rap over a rather pleasant rock track. Their entry seems to have been recorded from their appearance on the Tom Robinson Show on BBC Radio 6. Somebody tell the BBC to dump Radio 1 instead of 6.

COACHES TO CAMDEN say that "Pink String is a Kind of Hallucinogenic". The vocals don't start for 57 seconds, which is a shame because the vocals are the one thing that prevents this from being the second most boring track I've so far heard from all the applicants I've listened to. The vocals are excellent. Shame about everything else about this track.

ROCKETEER have an excellent press release that predisposed me to feel excited about their theatricality and the way they write their music. So, listening to "Troubadours" in this open frame of mind, I realised that while I've heard better music (they sound a little like Uriah Heep) the lyrics are brilliant. I can't wait to see their video.

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Cracked Actor

It's my birthday today. I'was born fifty years ago as of about 67 minutes ago. But like the song says, forget that I'm fifty 'cos you just got paid. And there are more songs for me to listen to, so here goes.

VASHTI says "You Are Free" and says it in three minutes with a high clear voice that sounds like Sade crossed with Lizzie from Stinky Toys if you can imagine that. As a singer she's great but to my mind, she needs a better band and the song itself is fairly mundane. I think it's a waste of a great sounding voice.

GOODBYE GOOD come from Barnsley. "Lifesize Cardboard Cutouts" sounds as I imagine "Showroom Dummies" might have sounded had Ralph and Florian been afflicted with the curse of Casiotone. They try. They have talent, but I find myself quite bored by this particular piece. I hate having to say things like that. It makes me sound like Simon Cowell.

have an awesome myspace page. "Cause and Effect" is good. It's driven forward by an acoustic guitar that is played beautifully. The singer's voice is good, but seems to be modeled too closely on Morissey. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, but now I've listened to approaching a hundred tracks by unsigned bands in the last week, it's originality that stands out. This doesn't.

GHOST IN MIRRORS begin "Ryder's Dismount" with some doomy bass playing that reminded me of the Cramps, then there was the singer's voice, a broken hysterical whine which actually fits in perfectly with the music. I've turned it way up now and am swimming in it. Then in mid track the tempo turns up and then, when it slows again, there's a moment to breathe before her voice comes back again, all tortured passion. I'm glad of this track. I was getting worried that I was turning curmudgeonly in my old age.

"Shout It Out Loud" by TEN TWENTY SIX is good old fashioned RAWK music. The singer's voice ought not to work. Objectively, she's not very good but this is one of those occasions where that just doesn't matter. The song as a whole is better than the sum of its parts. If I were writing for Sounds, I'd give it four stars.

GROOVEGRINDER start out "Yea You Rite" begins with a DJ professing 'we don't play funk' and then they go on to do exactly that. Now I have to confess, my funk appreciation began and ended with George Clinton and Bootsie Collins so I can't pontificate about it. All I can say is, this is great danceable music. Could be the dark horse in the race.

YVONNE LAKE plays folk music and says, "Let's Get Cybersexy". I gotta say, my Avatar sure wants to meet her if this song is anything to go by. She plays guitar in what sounds like a hillbilly style but her voice moves from deeper moans to higher sounds that remind me of Kate Bush. And on top of that, I love the song. Maybe not top five or however many I have in the top category, but perhaps in the second string.

POSt are "In Brief" two men and a box. The play electronic experimental music that somehow manages to sound like Can attempting to impersonate Brian Eno's ambient music. Or alternatively, perhaps like some fairly laid back Philip Glass number. "Einstein on the Beach" perhaps. Of course, this does beg the question... what do the scientists expect this experiment to tell them after it's been performed a thousand times before?

Folk artist DANIELLA MARIA beleives in playing what she feels and feeling what she plays. Whiskey Dreams feels like a Blues number from 1929 revived by one of those English Blues bands of the sixties and yet it's totally up to date and totally original. Great song, great voice and guitarplaying like the fictional Jenny Slade and her flesh guitar. I think I have a new favourite.

NEWRISING have a great drummer and a tight bass-player. They produce something solid to build the song on. The acoustic guitar's good as well. "People" is a chimeric union of Folk and Funk. It's competently done but I'm sad to say I don't feel excited by it. I think though that it would grow on me if it was in the charts.

SUBSTATIC are from Bristol. They're another Elctronic band. Not the best, but not the worst by a long chalk. The singer's okay, the beat is danceable but there's nothing wild about "wild horses".

THE GREAT ESCAPE are from Newcastle. They play Indie/Alternative so they say but I haven't a clue what that means any more. "Lost Time" is a rocking ballad over a steady, almost hypnotic beat. It sounds up to date and I can't understand why they're not on Sony already. They're good. I quite like them.