Saturday, 10 April 2010

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. *****


  1. Thanks for comment about BG Sant, Alcuin. I'm a bit confused about that and will have a look at it.

  2. This was definitely submitted as 'Cold Manicotti'. There was a clause in the guidelines specifying that if artists had previously been with one of the big 4 labels, but the label could no longer exploit their work, that that would not make them ineligible. Have emailed my original contact to confirm.

  3. Okay, they've confirmed the above is the case. The band own all the rights to their material past and present so that's fine by the guidelines we set out. Thanks for raising it.