Your CD-Rs deserve a second listen. So we’ll listen twice (and twice only) and then type. 20 words per demo.
The Strangerhood – ‘The Strangerhood’
Fast vocals. Even faster basslines. Pleasant for a while. Soon becomes rather repetitive; like a monkey with a miniature cymbal.
Ajanta – Moonshine EP
Hard to take too seriously, like a Spinal Tap b-side. Fun, but aptly leaves you with a sore head afterwards.
Carry Him Down:
Some interesting fret-board wizardry, does feel a little bit like ‘Greensleeves’ gone wrong at times. Ritual chanting is always creepy.
Indigo Sunshine – ‘Indigo Sunshine’
Bright and breezy summer fun. Nice acoustic beats with light vox and gentle percussion. Handclaps are too sickly sweet though.
Ben Matravers – Step One
Not as terrifying as the EP cover will have you believe. Cheerful enough, but sadly short on confidence and presence.
Described a “Dark and aggressive” in the notes, I’d go for bleak and mild discomfort. Great sample use halfway through.
Fossil Collective – Honey Slides EP
The sum of Fleet Foxes plus Band of Horses times by Midlake. Minus the big budgets. Just as soothing though.
Ten – Lowlands EP
Technically brilliant, mellow and atmospheric. Think Sigur Ros on a comedown, minus nonsensical gibberish. Bit of a downer at times.
Dirty Urges – ‘The Bill Hicks EP’
Striking funk / metal combo. Overkill on the effects pedal. No lyrical substance. Should not use Hicks’ name in vein.
Neil McLarty – ‘ Roseville Grand’
At The Lake:
Carefully crafted Americana meets West Yorkshire. Glorious use of antique organs and lazy guitar melodies help to radiate unmistakable warmth.
Who’s Gonna Meet You Tonight:
Organ deployed to full effect. Shades of The Hold Steady’s slower tracks. One of the album’s heaviest moments by far.
Friday Night Heartbreak:
Heading dangerously into full-blown square dancing territory, but forgivable given an otherwise consistent and impressive effort. Now shake those hips.
The Dawnriders – ‘The Dawnriders’
Songs bearing the same name as the band are never good. They always come across cheesy. This is no exception.
Either a brilliant a parody, or the worst take on Americana since Bon Jovi soundtracked Young Guns II. Lacking authenticity.
The Virgin & The Creep:
Much, much better. Acoustic led, with a strong narrative. Unfortunately buried at the end of the album. Worth a spin.
Daisy B – ‘This Town’
Upbeat melody, soulful vocals, great production and steady rhythm. Hard to dislike, but desperately lacking in the thrills department.
Full of life from the get go. Radio-ready and could easily be mistaken for any current female singer songwriter fodder.
Dressed In Wires – ‘Demonstration Disc 2010’
Random electro noises, not to be mistaken for The Clangers. Interesting concept, but very boring and indulgent in practice. YAWN.
GHOSTS – ‘Drum Lakes’
28-minute long “collage of songs” that inevitably hits and misses between superbly atmospheric, to half-baked and incomplete. Not. Even. Scary.
Auntie Dope – Live 2010
Mind Over Matter:
The Fratellis go lo-fi. Probably written in less than a minute, but not in a good ‘flash of inspiration’ way.
“Let’s go for a ride on a U.F.O., I’m all dressed up and ready to go”. Even The Ramones are cringing.