Perfectly timed for the post Christmas over indulgence crowd, shamelessly riding the success wave of the feature film.

Nostalgia and guilt clash in a horror show of kitsch catchy pop and lycra, screaming in glorious Technicolor that getting thin can be fun with the right music and a few sessions of prancing about to catchy tunes of Abba as played by Bjorn Again.

No doubt those who would own this will soon get bored of all that jumping around lark- and who could blame them, such a saccharine overload is enough to send people into a diabetic coma.  It is more likely they will switch to the watching Mamma Mia with a glass (or two) of wine whilst singing along.

Karaoke with dance moves.  No one should like Abba this much…..

If you want to lose weight to 70’s hits- buy an iPod and join a gym… at least you can vary what you listen to.

Jimmy ScreechJimmy Screech certainly has a unique sound. At times this single appears to be a dance anthem as it seems to be hitting all the right beats to get people dancing round the floor.

This is particularly true of ‘Wood 4 the Treez’ which is a great track that has both plenty of electronic and synthesized generated sounds as well as guitars. It also helps to continue the reggae tradition whose last great star was Bob Marley.

That Marley sound is very much in presence during Screech’s single. The regular recurring theme means that the piece is easily remember and it is something that is easily recognizable alongside much of the mainstream music that is currently on the scene.

The second track, ‘England’ is another cracker, but this time has a similar feel to the rhythm of The Streets songs. It opens with archive news reel, from which fades in the melody of the song.

Shortwave SetListening to the opening track of ‘The Shortwave Set’s latest single ‘ Glitches n’ Bugs’ it is immediately apparent that they have a slight melancholic, Leonard Cohen-esque edge to their sound.

Their opening track (Glitches n’ Bugs) has a heavy beat and strong vibes to produce a song that is well worth a listen. The band seems to have been influenced by some of the sounds of the seventies and there is certain nostalgia about their songs.

Their second song ‘Homesick’ is quite the opposite through the use of some electro beats and electric guitars. The song also follows on from the observations picked out in their opening track regarding the little observations in life, featuring plenty of bee buzzing. Other highlights of the single include a cover of Grace Jones ‘Slave to the Rhythm’ with further electro sounds. Read more

Connie Talbot’s Christmas AlbumWhere do you start with this?  You’ve got an 8-year old who can sing in tune (which is fairly impressive), she’s had some TV exposure and an album which has sold reasonably well, so let’s get a Christmas album out.  Is it something to keep Connie’s fans happy or a cynical cash-in on a time-limited phenomenon?

The album is a 3-way split between the traditional Christmas songs (“Silent Night”), swing versions of 50s/60s hits (“Let It Snow”) and a couple of 70s pop Christmas classics (“Merry Christmas Everybody” and “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday”).  Once you get over the cute factor, the Christmas hits (50s, 60s and 70s) don’t work because, although her voice is technically very good, there’s no emotional depth to any of the performances – it’s definitely not “A Christmas Gift For You” (Phil Spector’s finest hour?). Read more

David Holmes - Holy PicturesA fairly rare event these days – a new album from David Holmes.  This one has been a long time in the making ; the event which triggered off the process was the death of his mother Sarah in 1996, leading to the realisation that he wanted to create an album reflecting his own childhood, family and friends.

David Holmes is often seen as a Renaissance man of the British scene, combining DJ’ing, film soundtracks and music production throughout his career with elements of each these disciplines cross-fertilising with the others.  His first 2 albums, “This Film’s Crap, Let’s Slash The Seats” and “Let’s Get Killed” both had a very cinematic feel and “The Holy Pictures” carries on this tradition, bringing in many more influences such as German 1970s electronic (I don’t like the K word) and the Jesus and Mary Chain. Read more

Dorp - London Out ThereDespite only settling in London a few years ago, South African band Dorp have already started to make a name for themselves. “London Out There” is the group’s second single from new album “Humans Being”, and certainly has something unique about it.

There’s no hanging around with this song, straight from the whistle the fast-pace melody sets the tone and fuses fittingly with frontman Piet Bez’s dominating voice. It’s punchy with attitude, and occasional lashings of eletronica create an eerie feel as the song progresses.

If there is a negative, it’s that the chorus is slightly weak, but the rest of the music more than makes up for it. DORP are certainly different; they aren’t just another manufactured band. “London Out There” is the sort of sound that would be great at a live venue, it’s somewhere between a mix of techno-dance and funky rock. Read more

People in PlanesThe five piece indie rock band People In Planes made their annual venture home to Cardiff to a packed out ‘Clwb Ifor Bach’ (also known as ‘The Welsh Club’). Being fresh off their United States tour with Stereophonics, and with a sold out Biffy Clyro UK tour still to come this December, I was ready to be blown away by the popular posse from Porthcawl.

However, my enthusiasm was tragically quashed by an enamel peeling three hour wait for the main event to begin. Granted, there were two support acts (‘Walker’ and ‘Starsnostars’, both also hailing from Porthcawl), but that’s exactly my point – there should not have been two support acts, especially given that there was an hour’s gap of nursing my Bulmers depressingly in the corner in between the two support acts half hour sets.

That organisational gripe aside though, once People In Planes took to the stage, I immediately forgave them for the past three sweaty hours. Read more

Lights Run RiotLights Run Riot, a London based duo, met at University in 2003 and have been writing music together ever since. John Evelyn and Tomas Lane flaunt their adoration of “dynamic rock music” with their EP ‘Warning team’. Currently on the look out for a drummer, it is highly recommended to bag a snoop and get in swiftly.

‘Like Needles in Haystacks’ begins with well-structured and tear-provoking elegance; this transforms itself into a sincerely moving intro. It is akin to the Goo Goo Dolls and hooks glimpses of Feeder’s ‘Just the way I’m feeling’, perfecting a captivating sorrowful-rock recipe which has not been heard enough recently. Edging towards the chorus, it has the appealing taste of the Lost Prophets- ramming the listener into sober thinking. An idyllic female backing vocal provides the invigorating edge of romance that so many tunes fall short of delivering.

Gradually moving away from the soul-grabbing sounds of the former, ‘Rooftop Gymnastics’ brings with it an attractive yet simple melody, accompanied by a spoken suppleness. Not forgetting their intention, Lights Run Riot bring back their pop-rock banter which can only lead to a mammoth future.

Bringing the EP to a regrettable close, it is somewhat disappointing to find ‘Foot High Nettles’-an instrumental. Draped nicely in meditative guitar movements, it desires a meaningful lyric to compliment its jangly percussion and melancholy piano arpeggios.

Demonstrating what is possible at such an early stage, Lights Run Riot are destined for greatness. It is trusted that they will turn up on London’s gig circuit soon; scratching their score into sticky venue floors for a long while to come.


The FutureheadsThe Futureheads continued their UK winter tour with a live set in Cardiff’s Sub 29, after dates in London, Birmingham, Gl

asgow, Oxford and Norwich. The four-piece, who hail from Sunderland, have only recently retuned from touring America and Europe, and are continuing to promote new album “This is not the World”.

Before they took to the stage, support acts “Love Bites and Bruises” and “Johnny Foreigner” warmed up the waiting audience. Despite opening in front of a small crowd, “Love Bites and Bruises” proved to be

a hit, and were more worth than the limited numbers they received, sounding like a cross between Bloc Party and the Pigeon Detectives. By the time “Johnny Foreigner” were on, the crowd size had vastly improved and they played admirably to the excited Futureheads fans.

The Futureheads then burst onto the stage after a short break with old favourite ‘Decent days and nights’, and from there on the crowd were not disappointed. Read more

The FutureheadsThe new album has proved to be a success so far, but what can you promise fans who haven’t heard it yet?

The idea behind it is that it’s back to the blue print that we had for the first record, but it’s more straight forward and it’s simpler. And it’s played harder and faster and it’s louder than our previous albums.

How would you describe your style and who are your influences?

The fundamental elements of what we do are four part harmony punk rock band, where the live show depends on a lot of energy and a lot of crowd participation. As far as influences go, we put the band together in the beginning, because we loved the likes of Wire and The Clash and all that sort of post punk stuff. Now, because that’s all in your DNA, you get more influences from a story you read in the newspaper or a person you meet at a show.

You’re under your own record label now, is this a welcome change for you?

Yeah, it’s the best thing we’ve ever done, because it’s fifty percent less people who come and steal the rider at the end of the day! Truthfully ever musician is a control freak and it’s easier to keep an eye on things when you’re on the label. Read more