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Colin Hamilton and Jimmy Blackburn cast an appreciative eye over the month's latest releases.
Goto Indie Albums
Pulp/ Electrafixion / Frank Zappa / Joy Division tribute / Blur / Rub Ultra / Smashing Pumpkins/ Rocket from the crypt / Lordz of Brooklyn / Air Miami / Tuscadero / The Amps / Sonic Youth / Whipping Boy / AC/DC /
Goto Indie Singles
Luna / St Etienne / Smoking Popes/ Cast / Red Hot Chilli Peppers / Heavy Stereo / Livingstone/ 60 Foot Dolls / Kim Wilde / Campfire Girls/ Levellers/ Boo Radleys /
Luna - Hedgehog / 23 Minutes In Brussels -Beggars Banquet
Luna return with a double a-side. Hedgehog is an quick catchy tune which will enhance their growing reputation. 23 Minutes In Brussels sounds reminiscent of The Perfect Disaster. A solid bassline which the rest of the song slowly develops around. The CD also features a version of No Regrets a song which Scott Walker made famous. As Midge Ure discovered, if Scott sang it, leave it alone because comparisons will always be unfavourable.
St Etienne - He's on the phone - Heavenly
After a long time away from the scene St Etienne return. The last time I saw them live Pulp were the support but Pulp have moved on since then. Sadly St Etienne haven't and manage to sound exactly the same as they ever did. Sarah Cracknell's lyrics are sung in an unconfrontational manner over the unconfrontational music. It has got a slightly faster beat than normal though.
The Boo Radleys - From The Bench At Belvedere - Creation
There must be a lot of people waiting for The Boo Radleys to release another Wake Up. This will not excite them. It's a slow, gentle song which happily drifts along without anything even approaching a hook. The aggressive trumpets of Wake Up have been replaced with a laid back flute. The dynamic voice is a sedate whimper. Far nearer the Boo Radleys that we grew up with before the hit single episode.
Smoking Popes - Need You Around - Parlaphone
The Smoking Popes make beautiful lazy sound cultivating a noise which feels important about half way through the first listen. As soon as it finishes the urge to play it again becomes overwhelming. The sentiment of the song is simple, love. 'Crazy as it sounds I need you around' is the cry. This is a band that will be around for a long time if this is typical of their output to come. Due for release in January, but you can get it on the soundtrack to Clueless
Cast release alright as a taster from their forthcoming album. They seem to be getting thing together far quicker than the La's ever did. Alright is a typical guitar infused belter of a single, packed with energetic melodies. If your quick you can get it in Blue vinyl for 99p
The Levellers - Fantasy - China Records
This is taken from The Levellers current album, Zeitgeist, and features, rather unsurprisingly, a fiddle. Basically it's a Pogues style jig along tune. Fantasy shouldn't trouble any one apart from the hard-core fan base, which is quite large if the recent three consecutive nights at the Brixton academy are anything to go by.
Red Hot Chilli Peppers -My Friend -Warners
The Chilli Peppers continue to promote their latest album One Hot Minute with another release. This one is too slow to be a ballad but not noisy enough to be a rock out. The ideal sound for Virgin FM in fact.
Heavy Stereo - Smiler
When new band makes it big every major label tends to go out and sign up a band that sounds similar so that they don't miss out. Heavy Stereo sound remarkably like Oasis and should have been the ideal band to fill a hole in most major label's rosters. Creation, who have Oasis on their books already, have signed them first. Smiler is a reasonable tune though it should have been titled Similar.
Livingstone. - Good Intentions
Fresh from the Reading Festival, London based Livingstone release their exciting debut single. Good Intentions picks you up with it's driving beat and doesn't release you until the last blast on the mouth organ. In between the simple bassline is used to hang a variety of hooks which makes it eminently listenable.
60 Foot Dolls - Pig Valentine - Indolent
Another slab of noise from the 60 Foot Dolls. If you liked Kinky Machine then this is the band for you. This one has an easy the sing chores. 'Pig Valentine makes me happy all the time.' This should make for good sales but don't bank on it being number one at Christmas.
Kim Wilde - Breaking Away - MCA
Yes it is the same Kim Wilde who gave us Kids In America, You Keep Me Hanging On and the not to be forgotten Cambodia. This is the instantly forgettable Breakin' Away which doubtless comes from a new album. ' Now I'm breaking away, I've got something to say. Now I can make it on my own.' she sings. Of course, she has nothing to say and no amount of multi-layered vocals can cover up how bland this track is. The only question that remains is why MCA financed it.
Campfire Girls - Mood Enhancer EP - Beggars Banquet
A rather fine introduction to The Campfire Girls. Despite the name, there are no girls in the band and it doesn't feature songs that boy scouts would sing while they toasted marshmallows. The band consists of three males and they sound a lot like Nirvana. However, rather than trying to sound like Nirvana, they give the impression that they happen to sound like Nirvana. This EP consists of seven rather fine tracks which, assuming that it's priced as a single, represents the bargain of the month.