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.

Ooh, isn't Firefox fast?

I have a new browser now, and suddenly things are quicker. Why didn't I know this? Let's have a look at the new applicants Wes has added to the list today.

MAYHEW are an acoustic folk band from Edinburgh and their "Foxglove" shows why they appear to have something of a following. It's a fast tempoed tune with a hint of indiepop but not enough to hide the folkiness. The singer sounds a little like Shirley Manson and the cellist produces some brilliant sounds. It's not in my top five but it's one that I know will grow on me. Not bad. Not bad at all.

THE LIBRARY SUITS begin "Everything for Sale" with a steady beat, some doomy chords and slow arpeggios on a piano. Then they speed up and the singer comes in. His voice is not all that distinctive but doesn't distract from what is a very good rock song.

I.F.U. are the Industrial Funk Union from Philadelphia, Pa. "I Want You" is electro-funk at its finest with hints of various electronic rave subgenres I couldn't begin to put names to. I love the beat and the voice is very interesting, sort of like a more melodic (and American) Vic Goddard. Now that I've shown my age and ruined what credibility I may have had, I can say I love this record. It's yet another for my top five. (I know I have a big top five but I'm allowed to, it's my birfday).

NOVEMBER and THE CRIMINAL is my new favourite band name. They're from Worcester but sadly, "Vials" sounds like a minor new wave (not Punk) hit that might once have got to number 73 in the charts back in 1981. Sorry lads, love the name, didn't like the music.

THE WILD FURS have a similar sound but "Too Easy" works much better. The vocalist sings with a passion that echoes the delicious staccato cries of the guitars and the angry drumming. This is how it's done.

PAUL HARVEY is an original. Sure "They're On To You" could be considered to be in the mode of so many singer/guitarist songwriters from Bob Dylan to Billy Bragg, but he doesn't sound like any of them. He sounds like Paul Harvey. Maybe not top five, but certainly one I'd love to see in the charts anyway although I think I'd have had enough of his voice by the third or fourth single.

THE FINAL FEW are a hard rocking beat combo in the style of say Toto. They promise more than they deliver. By that I'm not saying they are bad, but the intro to "Fallen Star" is just so damned amazing that I'm kind of disappointed that the song itself didn't go straight to number one in my age-addled brain. Top ten though, or at least top fifteen.

THE REVERENCE are another alternative rock band. This one in a late eighties/early nineties style although it has moments when the music nods back in the direction of Wire or 999. "A Reflection" is an okay track, but quite honestly, it sounds like an album track, there's nothing distinctively brilliant about it, that could make it stand out as a single. Good but not brilliant ("My Town" on the other hand, by the same band is much closer to brilliant).

Okay I LOVE the Anime Video that "LIVING WITH FRANK" linked their entry to. I like "Abel Says", especially the guitar work. It's Heavy Metal at its most average. Sadly though, I don't love the music like I love the video.

And to finish this post, we come to DIRTY ELECTRO whose entry is "Filthy Dirty Sex Music". It sounds like Kraftwerk meet Chemical Brothers with a singer who sounds like a male version of Peaches and still it's more than the sum of its parts. At this precise moment in time, this is my favourite, the record that made Storm the Charts worthwhile. Awesome.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

What's New Pussycat?

Wes has added more... these are they.

WILLIAM BREAKSPEAR vs SIXAM ooh, they sound a lot like the Chemical Brothers, but I'm kind of expecting a rap battle, but it's not, "Vowel Mouthing" is vocal free, rave music, that should be played loud and danced to. Sadly, not for simply listening to.

FIONA SALLY MILLER recorded the "Cycle Song" live at the Union Chapel London. She plays acoustic guitar and she sings, and she reminds me of both Michelle Shocked and Four Non Blondes. She's also very much herself. This is one of my favourite songs so far. This is awesome. Look!

ELLIE MAE coincidentally, has also entered a similar acoustic number in "Everything and Nothing". With a similar guitar picking style and a similar accent to Fiona Sally Miller, she finds herself in an invidious position. Unfortunately for her, that immediately invites comparison. Ellie Mae has a good voice but it is not great. The lyrics are okay, and I'd've liked this track a lot more if I didn't listen to it immediately after Fiona's. It's also a shame because Ellie Mae's "Kiss Me (Like You Mean It)" might well have been a much better entry - in fact, I found Elie Mae's version better than Rigolo's version which I listened to yesterday..

GRAVITY ALWAYS WINS are a great alt.rock band and "Cut the Cord" is a fine example of the genre. Unfortunately, to my ears, I think they'd be better with another singer. His voice adds little musically and sounds somehow less energetic than the music behind him.

VISION THING have no such problem. Their singer's voice is still a little weak for my taste, but it works beautifully with the music in "Barcode". The thing I love the most about this is the sustained guitar drone in the background. "I love drones, and this particular one works well with both the melody of the voice and a countermelody from the guitar. Not my bong of opium, but of its kind it's very good.

RED LIGHT are from Marseille and they've entered "Crash System Control" which defies genre conventions. The singer's voice is weaponised, and the guitar and piano add a hypnotic base to their assault to help it get inside. This is absolutely brilliant. I'm sure my top five has more than five tracks in it by now but this is definitely one of them. Damn... I think I'm gonna cover this song!

Monday, 29 March 2010

Red Queen's Race

For some completely unknown reason, I lost connection to the Internet early on Sunday and got it back again five minutes ago, so now, without further ado, I'll start again with the listening to the fresher applicants.

WORLD OF FOX are a band of Brummies with a folky sound. It sounds like somebody's got a hammered dulcimer there as well as a guitar, which si all to the good. "Please Take Your Time" doesn't set my world on fire but it's a pleasant enough track. It has the air of folk music from the early sixties, before people started putting their fingers in their ears. Not bad at all.

TOM WILLIAMS AND THE BOAT have a simple song in "Concentrate", that combines a strong beat and some fine guitar, piano and violin playing with thoughtful words and strong vocals. This is an excellent track. It's danceable AND thoughtful. I'd certainly buy it.

GEORGE KIRCHNER classes his music as Rock/Punk and that's true as far as it goes, but his sound reminds me of Glen Matlock's Rich Kids, project. "Hey You" would certainly have got me bopping at the Alex Wood Hall in Cambridge back in my own punk days. Trouble is, I can imagine it being played exactly as is. This feels like nostalgia.

RIGOLO are a trip hop band from London. I'm not sure they're a very good one but I love their website and I love the singer's voice so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. "Kiss Me (Like You Mean It)" has that voice over the top of some rather syrupy pseudo classical strings, that I find rather irritating, but there's a germ of something special there, if only they can let it emerge.

GURDAN THOMAS are an experimental band, or so it says on their website. They play acoustic music with what sounds like a tuba or euphonium to provide the rhythm. It's upbeat and yet on "God Is Me", the lyrics are a fairly cheerfully sung ditty about horrible things happening. I find it highly amusing. I think it's meant to be funny.

MICKEY P play funky electronica with a strong, exciting beat and some interesting musical games being played in the background. Shame about the vocals. I know I've often said I wanted vocals where there weren't any, but in the case of "Wanna Get Off", I'm afraid it would be much better without the vocals.

REMODEL: Are they (goodness gracious) mods? The playing reminded me at first of the Who, but the vocals are completely original. "La Belle Dame Sans Merci" is a delicious track. It's not particuarly clever or arty, despite the title. A great track. And I confess, a great title too.

Saturday, 27 March 2010


Working systematically through the applicants, the next few are...

STEVEN FINN plays Harmonica blues in 1930s stylee, and he plays it well. "Hail to the Thief" could easily have come out around 1931 and given that a bunch of bankers have dragged us back to the thirties and the spineless politicians we have a right to expect to protect us from their folly let them, it's entirely up to date. It's good of its genre and that happens to be a genre I love. Go Steven!

MR LOVE AND JUSTICE is the name of a terrific novel by Colin McInnes. It's also a folk band from Swindon. Their song, "We, the Chartists" could easily be the theme tune for Storm the Charts. It has a slightly edgy refrain in which the singer's voice sounds like the first stonethrow of a riot. The guitars, fiddle and percussion are all controlled to produce a tapestry of excellence. Then there is an undertone of the Chartists' demands. Let it be so. An excellent track, well worthy of a number one.

SECOND SENSE play a quiet kind of rock music, that works very well with the singer's voice. I find "Playground" a little irritating despite the skill with which it is played. I can't say it's easy to put my finger on precisely what's wrong. If I had to say, I think I'd put it down to trying to do too many things at the same time. It's essentially a fairly simple song and the vocals are perhaps too complex for both the lyrics and the music.

LIPPY S has entered a piece of electronic pop called "Radiate". I was going to say that I didn't like her voice because it sounded too much like so many voices in R&B from the nineties and that took away from the rather trippy background track. But I listened to it and as the song progressed, it grew on me. Not one of my favourites but it is a good track all the same.

OPAL SKY are from Scotland and their "The Blue of You" could have been written by Nat King Cole himself, but it wasn't. The piano provides a constant beat while the drums syncopate, which I find delightful. The song starts fairly slowly and then comes to a crescendo in the middle. And the singer's voice... well, she could be Aretha one moment and Annie Lennox the next. I love this. I think it just made my top five.

Friday, 26 March 2010

That's Not All, That's Not All

There are still some tracks I've already listened to so, without further ado, I shall continue.

ANNA NEALE is an acoustic musician from Woking. She says she's a pioneer of "Sex Folk" and I have to admit, she's hawt as they say and her video is steamy as rainforests. "Control" has an interesting collection of instruments and they go well with Anna's voice. She's no diva (as if there could be another alive at the same time as Patti Smith) but she knows how to work with what she has.

YOB KULCHA haqve a nice big banner about Storm the Charts on their myspace page, and given that's more than I've done, I have to say kudos to them for that. "Big Bag" is not good though I'm afraid. It sounds more than anything else like the soundtrack to a couple of racy comedians in old-time vaudeville mixed in with some cartoon sound effects. I can't say I enjoyed this.

MY DRUG HELL are from London. They play some okay psychedelic music but sadly, alone of all their tracks, I couldn't get "Mysteries of Love" to play on their myspace page, so I can't really comment. Then again, I can't blame them for that, I can't even attach the pop up player to my myspace page or get it to accept music from my computer so I'll blame Tom rather than My Drug Hell.

BLUSH are a band I know absolutely nothing about but the singer has a magnificent voice, the musicians are tight (meanoing well controlled and competent, not drunk) and "Living in a Fantasy" is a good pop record. It's one of several applicants that to my ears sound as though they ought to be in the charts already. I wish 'em luck.

MALF begin "Psycho Pretty" with a blood-curdling scream... amd then they play a record that wouldn't have been out of place on the radio in 1958. It's a catchy number with some fine saxophone playing. I can imagine hearing this still on jukeboxes fifty years from now - always assuming I live that long. This is in my top ten.

First Time In My Ears.

Seems like there are eight new applicants today (I know they're not new applicants but Wes has only just put them up on the list). I think I'll listen to them all rather than write a post about only five. That brings the total number of bands I've commented on to 32 I think but my maths sometimes isn't as good as I think it is.

TOOB have come up with one of the best titles so far in "Unsound Skin". It begins with an interesting rhythm that sounds like it should be played over the opening credits of a horror movie. I love the breathy voice that seems to have been sampled into that rhythm. The voices of the the singers work together beautifully. It's a laid back number with a sharp edge. I enjoyed it.

ADAM DAWSON is a singer songwriter from York. His "In the Beginning" has echoes of your last holiday in Greece in the way the music is played behind a decent voice that can hold a tune. It's a nice song but I hear little in it to stand out from all of the others. That's neither a good nor a bad thing. It's not quite in my personal top forty from these applicants, but it's probably in my top sixty. Hmm, on second thoughts, I just found myself singing it. It IS in my top forty after all.

APRIL ELIZANBETH begins her track "Love" with a hint of acoustic percussion and an acoustic guitar that's reminiscent of the first Tracy Chapman album. Unfortunately, that's where the resemblance ends. Her voice is good, clearly well-trained but it doesn't move me and I found the song quite dull. Sorry April.

EMILY BARKER AND THE RED CLAY HALO have entered "Nostalgia", which is the theme tune from Wallender. Yes I love it. It's a great song but I'll be surprised if it's not already in the charts well before the charts get stormed. If it doesn't make the top forty, I'll buy it anyway... but I don't intend to vote for it.

SEFIROS entry is a horse of a different colour. "Ultimatum" begins with churchy organ music, then builds up with some excellent drum work over a burbling synth until I'm aching for the vocals to come in. But we don't get vocals, we get another texture added to the mix instead (is it cello?), and we're dancing but you know what, I still want the vocals. I can't mark it down on that though. This is a fine instrumental piece. Well worth a listen even if it's not my cup of bovril.

FRIENDS AS FAMILY are another band from the East (so I'm biased in their favour). That's until I listen to the opening of "Doesn't Happen". It reminds me of a cross between Toto and Prefab Sprout. I used to be a big fan of Prefab Sprout but this mixture just doesn't work in my opinion.

Turn it up. It's LONG TALL SHORTY with "Turn it up", a brilliant, hard rocking number that'd get me up and dancing in any of a hundred dark and seedy clubs. I was disappointed by the voice at first, but I find it's growing on me. Another keeper. NIIIIIICE! Now bear with me while I listen to it again.

LUSITTANIA play funky rock music and "Big Bear" is no exception. This is an uptempo number with virtuoso guitar work and layed back vocals over controlled percussion. It's nice but I have a feeling this particular band could do better. I'd say they are a band to watch but this isn't the breakthrough single they need.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Another Bite of the Cherry

I criticised BURT BACHARAK FIGHT CLUB yesterday for having the wrong track listed. I apologise unreservedly for that. Wes tells me it was his fault rather than theirs. I still don't like their website but I'm not judging their website but their song. "In the Miso Soup" is a fine piece of pop music. It reminded me of the Vapours in their heyday. It's not one of my favourites, but it is one I could happily see in the charts. I have to say, I like some of their heavier tracks even more.

NICOLA HARRISON writes some great songs and "Matilda" is no exception. I'm not too keen on her voice I'm afraid. It's melodic certainly and has a clean tone. In fact, I'd say it's technically perfect or close to it but I don't nevertheless find it particularly exciting. That said, the song is beautiful and the guitar playing excellent. I can see this being one of the songs picked by the panel and I think they'd be right to pick it, even though I'm probably not going to vote for it myself.

THE MEEK is a brilliant name for a band. Maybe I'm biased by having played Tyranny Games' "the End" (in which 'and the Meek shall inherit the earth' proves to be a warning). The song they've submitted, "I want to live in a dream on my record machine" is fairly pleasant pop music that fades easily into the background even while I'm listening on headphones. Sorry guys, I really wanted to like this one.

SUGAR JESUS play 'electro plated thriller pop apparently'. I'm afraid "Solarize" doesn't thrill me much though. It's reasonably good pop music, but just for once I have to say, the singers are better than the band, especially the female one. The song itself is not particularly exciting, but the voice. Oh yes, her voice most definitely is.

FLESH CRAFT begin their song "China Girl" with some slow, gothicky piano playing, then synthesized sounds come in and afinally a voice that reminds me of Nick Cave at his best (for example on "The Mercy Seat"). The music mutates into something more melodic and danceable, but it never stays long enough to dance. This is an awesome track that defies expectations minute by minute and still manages to sound like something I'd buy. Top ten I think.

Some more I've heard before

Just because I've listened to some of the new applicants doesn't mean I've exhausted the ones I've already listened to so here are some more of my earlier thoughts.

TINKER JACK are a fine fairly folky sounding band with a hint of new wave cynicism in the world-weary voices and the screams of the lead guitar. The song "Baby Be Lonely" grabs the ears from the start and holds on. I love this song. Probably in my top five and I can only wish them the best of luck in the vote.

THIEVES LIKE US come from Walsall. Their entry is called "Shine on Me". It's quite nice but it sounds so much like Snow Patrol that I found it hard to judge it on its own merits. It deserves to get in the charts I suppose, but I'm quite surprised they haven't got major label interest already. I also have to say, I felt it went on too long and I was bored by the end.

I want to like SHELLY SOLJAZ not least because I'm from some quasi-rural hellhole in the East Midlands as well. I found "Street Life" exciting and some of the lyrics well written but in the end, it's good, it's not great. I might well vote for them but only because of what we share, not because of the merits of their song.

KUNK from East Anglia are much easier to like. They sound like, say 999 in the days of punk. Instrumentally they are an exciting new band that brings together all sorts of ideas from the New Wave/Punk traditions of the past 30 years, with nuggets of gold panned for and kept while the sand is thrown away. I'm a little disappointed in the (male) singer on their entry "No Way", but I think after a few plays, I could get into this. That said, I also listened to another track, "Game Over" where they have a female singer and I have to say, with her singing, they are an excellent band.

CANADA WATER failed to move me, I'm afraid. They're not bad and I'm sure if their song "It's Petty Theft Bessie" was played on the radio or in a disco, I'd dance and tap my feet, but it sounds like just another indie record to me and I don't think I'd want to buy it. Great songname though.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

And some I listened to today

I really want to like POOR LITTLE PIERETTE but "Simon" leaves me frustrated that the singer can't quite back up her brilliant ideas as a songwriter. That said, if this gets in the charts, it's the one that will stay there for weeks until we're all heartily sick of it. I can see this one being a hit.

The track that plays automatically on the BURT BACHARAK FIGHT CLUB website is quite nice but what it isn't is the song they've applied to enter into storm the charts, namely "Hail to the Thief". There's a lot of stuff on their website but the song I'm looking for isn't there, so I'll leave it with a hearty shrug and some heartfelt swearwords.

KASHA on the other hand does everything right. His "Black Rhyme" hits all the boxes in denouncing the trashy culture of today's image saturated society. He's a great wordsmith and has the presence to pull it off. My only reservations are the beats (which while not bad didn't really inspire) and the thought behind the rhymes. Yes Kasha is better than a lot of what passes for rap these days, and, as I've said, he's a great poet, but I'd like to have seen some more original thought.

THE ALTER EGOS left me cold, I'm afraid. "Hope in the Sky" is a pretty acoustic piece but I don't find it particularly interesting. The guitar playing is repetititve and the voice rather weak in my view. I'm sorry Alter Egos, but I won't be voting for you.

MAYBE MYRTLE TURTLE is the best of this lot, but that's not realyl saying that much. "I Came Into Your Room" begins with an awful moment when I think, this is going to be dire, but then the sax comes in and the rhythm starts and I realise this is a fine jazz piece with some incidental vocals. I think it might have worked better as an instrumental. That's not saying the vocals are bad, just that the rest of the musical is so good that the vocals can't match it.

More I've seen before

Okay, another five of the songs I've seen already.

Let's start with THE SOVIETS whose perfect rock-pop production "The Waitress" is almost as good as Swci Boscawen's entry, and which I would certainly considere buying even outside Storm the Charts. It's energetic, passionate, has some tight instrumental work and is backed up by an awesome video on You Tube.

KNEW JERUS'LEM from West Yorkshire have produced "Non Apologetix" a fine piece of Hip Hop over what sounds to me like an Appalachian Dulcimer, and anyone who knows me knows I have a soft spot for that particular instrument. The voices work in to provide a hypnotic rhythm and although I'm not usually a fan of gospel music, I think they put across their theology in a non-preachy manner and more than that, the record is brilliant enough to stand on its own as dance music with or without the words. (But why the abrupt ending?)

You know I'm not going to just write about things I like. MIRRORKICKS song "Podium" is a case in point. I admit I'm biased because of their needlessly busy Myspace page but once you get through that, the song starts out pretty well. Mirrorkicks are a good rocking band and I'd pay to see them... it's just the singer's voice. It sounds rather weak to me, especially when placed against what is a pretty hot rhythm section.

TRABANT from Sweden have entered "Aj Aj Aj" It has a driving rock n roll beat with what sounds like a fairly reedy organ and a hardanger fiddle on top of the standard paraphenalia of rock n roll. The singer has a good voice but I have no idea what he's singing about because my knowledge of Swedish consists of Husker Du and Smorgasbord. Regardless of the language barrier though, I love this song and hope it gets there or thereabouts when the smoke clears and tha charts have fallen.

Finally (for now) TEN CITY NATION are on my library of Last FM. Their "Silent Disco" reminds me strongly of the early days of punk, but they've combined many of the tropes of punk to produce something with all the energy of punk, but somehow more melodic, as if Wire, the Ramones and the Damned had all been combined together and told to play for their lives... oh yes, and the drummer... the drummer is magnificent. This'd get even me into the mosh pit.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Listening Blog

I've set up this blog to record those records among the Storm the Charts candidates I've listened to and what I thought of them. Anyone reading, feel free to follow the links and join the storm the charts group on facebook. The idea is to try to get forty of these records into the UK top forty in one week in June 2010.

So... I've listened to some of them already, some I've liked and some I really haven't.

These are some I remember from previous listening...

Joy Shannon and the Offering were one of the first bands to apply. Their main website has links to other tracks such as the awesome "Fisherman's Daughter" but the track they've nominated for storm the charts is "Safe". It's not easy to find but it's worth the effort. Joy's voice has a high clear folky tone with some interesting lows. The song is played over a decent techno beat with some ethereal sounds over the top which harmonise beautifully with her voice.

Keston Cobblers Club have an excellent video on You Tube to accompany their acoustic number "You Go". It sounds like piano and ukulele with perhaps some accordion or melodeon to me which is an interesting combination for something that sounds authentically up to date. I could imagine this one being released by a major record label but so far it hasn't been so it's eligible.

Swci Boscawen is just AWESOME. Her "Min Nos Monterey" sounds like a cross between surf punk and psychobilly, but her voice is more melodic than either and she mixes it with electronic sounds that remind me of Peaches or Miss Kittin. I hope this one is chosen to get to number one, not least because I would LOVE to see a number one record in Welsh.

Moral Soul are good, but not as great as the tracks mentioned above. They have a major following apparently but to me the song "Violence" is like so much else that's in the charts already. I can imagine them on Jools Holland's show because they are musical and they do know what they are doing but just not my cup of tea.

Finally (for now), just to show that it's not all sweetness and light in my head, there is a track called "Fucksticks" by Kunt and the Gang. I listened to it, and that's a couple of minutes of my life I'll never have back. It's krap.

There are three to four hundred tracks up for Storm the Charts. Check 'em out for yourself, join the group if you haven't already, and get ready to vote when Wes announces the way of it.