Spotlight December 2004


Elle Milano – Demo CD

This 4-track ep immediately skyrockets these local lads to the very top of the “Hot Property” ladder in my eyes. Described as “sketchy” by the band themselves, it’s actually anything BUT, and is one of the finest things I’ve heard all year.

Like a tempestuous marriage made in hell between Blur and Robert Smith with Franz Ferdinand as the snot-nosed bridesmaids, the electrifying “Sunshine In Happy Land” begins the ceremony before the remarkable “Ooo Beyonce Baby” astounds us all by being an ultra cool pop song that has such a strong hook that I have agreed to eat my trousers if it doesn’t hit the charts!

If that doesn’t satisfy you, look no further than the next track – one that manages to better even that with “Swearing’s For Art Students” and includes my favourite line repeated over and over: “You don’t have to shout just to get your point across” – something that folk like Robert Kilroy-Silk could do with listening to (and my ex-missus)!

Closing with the obviously Cure influenced “Private Thoughts”, a more dreamy number, Elle Milano have proved to me that you don’t need to have to have your stuff recorded professionally to make a fantastic CD (they did it all themselves).

Did I say “one of the finest things I’ve heard this year”? Scrub that. Make that THE best!

10/10
(and no arguments guys please!)

Tone E

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Napoleon IIIrd - 2 Track demo (feat. Anthem for the Band, Guys in Bands)

T: Certainly possesses the imagination of Brian Eno or David Byrne, though not necessarily anything like their 1982 collaboration. It IS wonderfully fucked up though, there's no doubt about that. Quite how often I'd actually choose to PLAY this record though I'm not so sure. Certainly there are points gained for originality - simple melodies played over a rather complex rhythmic section that gives the music its slightly demented feel. It could either leave you staring in awe or with an horrendous headache.

N: In some ways, this contains shades of Stereolab for me, but was most definitely lo-fi in its presentation. Now I have to admit to being a bit of a sucker for music of the lo-fi variety since my brush with the earlier mentioned band twelve or so years ago. Eno and Byrne? Yes, I can see that, but in the harmonisation present on 'Guys in Bands', I felt the spirit of "Pet Sounds" seems to have weeviled its way in.

T: Weeviled?!!

N: It is a word, honestly! 8/10

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Owsley Sunshine – Sumoerday [SINGLE]

The Charlatans, Ride and any number of early nineties “shoegazing” bands could all be referenced here if you’re looking for influences.

Actually, the further you get in, you realise you can probably scrub the last two comparisons out, so similar in style are Owsley Sunshine to Burgess and his men. Lucky for them then that I am rather partial to the former so-called “baggy” band.

This is a dreamy, atmospheric record filled with love, and the intense psychodelia here is immensely satisfying. Let’s hope we hear more of these guys…and soon! 9/10

Tone E

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Escanna/You’re Smiling Now But We’ll All Turn Into Demons – [SPLIT ALBUM]

'Escana'

Many bands spring to mind when you listen to Escanna, not least of all Jacob’s Mouse, although there are definitely less obvious shades of The Fall in here too. It’s impossible not to mention At the Drive In as well – a band that Escanna seem to be aspiring to be like anyway.

It’s highly unlikely that your granny would like this stuff, and that can only be a good thing, I guess. Unashamedly dirty guitars, unwhistleable tunes and the kitchen sink thrown in to boot. Pretty good stuff. 7/10

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'YSNBWATID'

You’re left in mind of all those bands mentioned in the Escanna review when you hear YSNBWATID, though you can throw in Sonic Youth and And You Will Know Us By the Trail of the Dead to describe their sound perfectly.
Scorewise, I think we can liken this to their split album counterparts. 7/10

Tone E


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The Attika State – The Downside of Perfect [SINGLE]

Sounds like eighties indie popsters Bradford having a food fight with Funeral For a Friend. The result is a fairly pleasant emo/rock tune that isn’t a million miles away from Iron Maiden in places either.

The gentler “Relief Wax” is probably the pick of the three racks here, sounding a little like Easyworld and continuing that theme into “Vinegar Hill”.

They’re all pretty good tunes really, and the lads are showing a lot of promise for the future. 7/10

Tone E

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Mondo – Before the Fall LP (Moof) [ALBUM]

Having previously reviewed Mondo’s former album with the words “This band rock”, AD is happy to confirm that they still do, but this time in a totally different way.

Those Swervedriver like moments are still there in abundance, but they’ve added several new aspects to their sound to ensure that you could never accuse them of making the same record twice.

For opening track “Slowstar”, think Portishead during a bad acid trip, as the results are astoundingly sinister and equally addictive.
“Spare Parts” is the same band awakening from their hallucinatory slumbers with a black coffee in the small hours in the morning, and “Avoid the Void” has a similar feel to Suede’s “Pantomime Horse”. Not that it sounds anything like it, but there was something in the production that suggested such a thing.

The band has obviously evolved greatly during the making of “Before the Fall”, and their willingness to experiment has paid dividends. Sometimes you stumble across some quite unexpected references. For example, “Any Time Now” put Jimbob and Fruitbat from Carter USM at the forefront of my mind, and the influence of Pink Floyd on several other tunes – not least the album’s title track – is unmistakeable.

The way Mondo have progressed thus far, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if they became legends by the end of the decade! 9/10

Tone E

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