Spider Simpson

Heavy Metal Machine

I�m not usually one to dwell on a bands� biography before listing to their tracks, but Spider Simpson�s achievements read like a leaf from the Holy Rock Bible itself. After submitting songs to a film soundtrack the guitar-based quartet found themselves supporting the Stereophonics on their 2005 tour. Not content with these mere triumphs, the lads from Birmingham then went onto get prime-time airplay on Kerrang! radio to gain a celebrity fan who you may have heard of; Dave Grohl. Seriously, how lucky can one band be?
Spider Simpson released their single Heavy Metal Machine on December 4th. The tune blasts like the �phonics did when they had that now-dead youthful excitement, whilst vocalist and guitarist Adam Zindani sings with conviction over a few well balanced but raunchy guitar solos reminiscent of the Dandy Warhols. The B-side I�m So Tired picks up the pace with a traditional rock chorus full of flavourful hooks that any Foo Fighter fan would be happy to hear.
It�s not the most outstandingly original piece of music I�ve ever heard, but a bit of old fashioned rock and roll never hurt anyone. And with Spider Simpson currently recording

their debut in Dave Grohl�s personal studio, let�s hope their luck doesn�t run out.

Fiona Reid

Faithless

Bombs

This sounds a bit like every other Faithless song I have ever heard � nothing vocals and silly spoken word bit buried under enough production to sink a battleship. Still, if you�re worried you missed any of the track�s hidden depths there are a couple of remixes on the b-side for you to get your teeth into. And they�re both seven minutes long! You lucky people. Still, I have to admit to being caught humming it afterwards. Don�t tell anyone though.

Lisa Marie Ferla

James Morrison

The Pieces Don�t Fit Anymore

As wet and uninspiring as a Glasgow day in January, �The Pieces Don�t Fit Anymore� is the latest slow-paced warbling from the gravel throated and tortured soul of James Morrison. It doesn�t seem different from his other stuff and it could pass for a Westlife song. Very poor indeed.

Andy Reilly

Summer Holiday

U Can Have It All

A slightly off-kilter mix of Casio-keyboard drumbeats, rough-edged punky vocals and what appear to be crowds of cheering schoolkids, this is a tough one to review. It boasts a few great moments, but there�s also something jarring about the whole, slightly messy, mix. �U Can Have It All� would probably sound fantastic live, but in the comfort of your own home it�s simultaneously overblown and disconcertingly unpolished. Plus, of course, there�s the unforgivable text-speak of that title. The slowed-down version is an indie-dub joy, though.

Dan Coxon

Fools Circle

Blackpool Tower EP

The first of four on this EP starts promisingly, fusing washed out indie guitar picking with the melodic sensitivity of early Ash or Teenage Fanclub. The vocals are ropey, and the mix is a bit vocal heavy, but I�m quite enjoying it until I hit skip track, at which point I become exposed to a bunch of stadium rock wannabes who can�t even spell the word �what� correctly. �Blackpool Tower� is marginally better, but with lyrics like �burn that fucking tower down� and �why don�t you kill the queen?� you can almost smell John Lydon posed quietly round the corner with his machete, just waiting to take these plagiarists down.

Vicki Cole

Muse

Knights Of Cydonia

The Magnificent Seven meets Mars Attacks! in the latest single from Mercury-nominated album Black Holes & Revelations, and not a moment too soon. Mixing Queen-style operatics with a sci-fi sensibility and that trademark Muse sound, this is the soundtrack to the weird battles that rage inside Matt Bellamy�s head. Supercharged, supernova, and just downright super, this is quite possibly the best thing the band have produced to date, and one of the most original singles to be released this side of 2010. Revelatory.

Dan Coxon

Rob Sharples

So the Story Goes

Hailing from Bristol, Rob Sharples finds himself releasing his most recent EP on Marrakesh Records, the brainchild of Lizard King co-owner Dom Hardistry. It must be a match made in heaven, because this music is just lovely. Production and mixing is helmed by Paul Corkett (Bjork, Placebo, Nick Cave) who gently steers picked guitar arpeggios and heart wrenching strings around Sharples’ sensitive yet yearning voice. The northern star of this vessel is undisputedly opening track ‘So the Story Goes’, in which we find Sharples commenting vividly on the industrialisation of his beloved homeland. Third track ‘The Detail Between Us’ is less universal, focusing more on intimate moments between Sharples and his girlfriend. The backing vocals are skeletal, hanging fragile beneath a much stronger amalgamation of guitar and voice. Contrasting to the rest of the EP, ‘Scratching out the Absolute’ begins as a fond homage to Belle and Sebastian and rises to become a feverous folk ditty. For once, the Nick Drake comparisons are justified.

Vicki Cole

Good Shoes

The Photos On My Wall

Persevering with the jerking strut-rock that made �All In My Head� a surprise indie hit, Good Shoes continue to build their �next big thing� reputation with this short-but-sweet single. It might not have the instant appeal of their previous effort, but it�s still a particularly tasty slice of attitude-driven guitar pop. Put on your most tattered shoes and shuffle along with their fashionably unkempt melodies, before the rest of the country catch on.

Dan Coxon

Mr Hudson and The Library

Too Late, Too Late

Mr Hudson and the Library are a self-described ‘cross-pollination of hip hop, reggae beats and classic song writing’. That sounds like an interesting blend from the start.
It is clear from the first listen that Mr Hudson sees himself as part of the new breed of British artists who wax lyrical about today’s ‘yoof culture’. Now this we know works for some, Lily Allen has done quite well signing about going for a walk through London and watching old women get mugged. Arctic Monkey’s have won a Mercury Prize for documenting trips to the local indie club and hiding in bushes from policemen. Mr Hudson recounts similar tales over his horn-tinged, summer reggae beats with subtle hints of electronica, (Now I need a line/This time the chat-up kind). Unfortunately he comes across more Robbie Williams goes ska than Mike Skinner. One of two things have gone wrong for Mr Hudson; he doesn’t have the charm or gimmick appeal many off his peers do, or he’s missed the boat with the crossover step taken by the likes of Miss Allen or Jamie T. All too ironically, Mr Hudson may be ‘Too Late’.

Laura Jane Donnachie

Senses Fail

Calling All Cars

Yawn. A poor man�s Green Day, too soft for the heavy metal crowd, too upbeat to be emo. Senses Fail have fired and missed at every target audience with this monstrosity of a record that deserves to be burned more violently than a Jade Goody effigy. It�s about as unique as a wet weekend in Scotland and probably just as welcome. It just reeks of desperation, a record so utterly out of touch listening becomes painful. Everything about this just reeks of a lack of ideas. Avoid.

Paul MacDonald