Forget guns and forget ammunition
Rosey R*E*P*E*A*T takes aim with some verbal violence

Lily Allen : The Fear (Regal)

OK this may only be mid February but spring seems to have already started to sprung; the snow has gone, bulbs are poking through the aching earth, it's not dark all the time and there's a new Lily Allen single out.

The video juxtaposes the scathing lyrics with images of Lily skipping around the set, dancing with oversized presents, perfectly complementing this upbeat sap-packed ditty, marrying an optimistic electro-pop beat to a girlie voice with intelligently biting lyrics:

It doesn’t matter ‘coz I’m packing plastic
And that’s what makes my life so fucking fantastic
And I am a weapon of massive consumption
It’s not my fault, it’s how I’m programmed to function
I look at the sun and I look in the mirror
And that’s when I know
I’m onto a winner

Indeed you are Lily, indeed you are.


The Shills : Apparition (Globalnet Records) (

Don't you just love it when a plan works out? 15 years ago 3 small boys joined my guitar class wanting to play like a cross between Queen and The Manics*. And here they are, well on their way to achieving their ambition...

From the opening riff, 'Apparition' is the sound of a band coming age, with promise replaced by performance. The riff is so heavy it could be used to crack conkers, the verse chugs along like an overheating Scalextric car and the killer chorus kicks in like a playground brawl . What makes this track stand out from a bunch of other rockin indie hopefuls are the lead vocals, variously described as Morrissey mashed with Jarvis Cocker, or like a Klingon on helium, which give the song the supreme human vulnerability that makes it 4-real.

OK, so I maybe biased, the NME quotes on the press release maybe made up and this may not even be genuinely their first single (what do you call this then boys?) but this apparition should startle you into taking notice, with the hairs on the back of your neck crawling.

I'd have got away with my rock'n'roll indoctrination if it wasn't for these pesky kids.

*And if anyone doubts the veracity of any of this, I'll post the photos of you lot aged 7 all over the internet.

All-American Rejects : Gives You Hell

Here's my dirty little secret : I've quite enjoyed several past offerings of The All-American Rejects. Shhh! They do that pop punk thing to perfection, that crunchy guitar sound, the snappy drums, the minor-keyed pre-chorus and then the killer hook. And it's done very well for them.

This single is not really one of my favourites from their oeuvre – any chorus that that has to prove its own sing-a-longability by adding a crowd doing just that at the end of the track is always likely to arouse suspicions. And as ever the shift to a more 'mature' sound disconcerts me (see all my past reviews, ever); in The All-American Rejects case this manifests itself in the employment of producer Eric Valentine who seems to have grown up their thrashing pop-punk sounds in favour of a soul-pop vibe.

Which is all well and good, but to me lacks the fun, sparkle and life affirming air-headed frothiness I once admired in the band.

As if anyone cares what I think, this was number 2 on the i-tunes chart behind The Killers.

Give them Hell!

King of Conspiracy : Youth Against the Empire (

Now this is more like it – frantic, snarled, arrogant, mouthy and just a tad unhinged, King of Conspiracy come at you out of your speakers like a rabid dog. They outsnarl Rotten, they outpace Dwain Chambers, they have more mad bells than a French hunchback, and they are ready to wrestle your attention away from join-the-dots indie.

A kick to the throat of just about everything - part intellectual-salon, part youth movement - the track is an uncompromisingly DIY blaze of frenetic vocals, ingeniously off-kilter guitar lines, and fractious dancefloor drums. They have been likened to McClusky, At the Drive-In, and And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, but their schizophrenic rantings and ramblings remind me equally of early 90s psychos King of the Slums.
'Youth Against the Empire' will be available to download from all the major digital retailers and signed copies of the limited edition CD will be available both from Catcutter Record's website here and via the band's myspace

This slab of 'anguished and jet-propelled art-punk' is released on March 2nd – dare you wait that long?

The Foxes : Bill Hicks (

This is another frantic, energetic romp, nice one! The band recorded the track live in one take after psyching themselves up by watching the Bill Hicks sketch that inspired it (watch it yourself below), and you can almost feel the integrity and swagger leaping out of the CD and poke you between the eyes. Pummelling brainwashing drums, an insistent stabbing guitar riff and several 'heys' all make for an exhilarating, uplifting listen. No wonder it's endorsed by Bill Hicks' family.



It's A Misery Business : Anti Love songs for the Anti Valentine (Rhino)

We at R*E*P*E*A*T have long been a bit cynical about the purposes of Valentines day, and now it seems that some record company execs have realised there's some money to be made out of this cynicism. This is a collection of anti-love songs, a scene conscious assemblage of loud punk, rock, emo and metal, designed to drown out the misery of Valentines day and turn even the warmest of hearts (and the label's bank balance) black.

There are some trendy headline names to entice you in – and, admittedly, they deliver the best that the compilation has to offer. We’re talking Panic At The Disco’s I Write Sins Not Tragedies, featuring the memorable lyric: “What a beautiful wedding… what a shame the poor groom’s bride is a whore!”

Simple Plan’s emo anthem Your Love Is A Lie is filled with enough angst-laced vitriol, too – as well as a radio-friendly, sing-along appeal. And Biffy Clyro crop up with their majestic epic Mountains, which deserves to win even more fans to their albums.

There's also some crap – Nickelback's 'Something in Your Mouth' was banned in the UK by their own record label. One listen and you'll work out why.

To make up for that, here's R*E*P*E*A*T faves Gallows' punk rock riot that is Orchestra Of Wolves. And then Amanda Palmer contributes a song mysteriously called 'Leeds United'...

With a bit more thought and a bit less pandering to scenes, there's the kernel of a very good idea in here. Pity I'm reviewing it on February 17th.

Gun'n'Roses : Better

Is it?

The Fuzztones : Horny as Hell (

Now here's a bad that could teach old Axl about not letting down your legacy. They maybe 30 years young, but the Fuzztones still possess the raw energy, passion and ear for a top tune that marked them out as special all those years ago, as Rudi Protudi and his rotating cast of Vox-wielding maniacs continue to pound out snarling, spitting garage rock, oblivious to trends and image consultants . Yeah they've got horns this time (Horny as Hell, geddit?) and a female chorus, but the godfathers of garage still revel in and rely on the dirty guitars and the charismatic vocals.

If you don't believe in longevity, you need to get Horny as Hell.

The View : Which Bitch (1965 Records)

The View's debut album was, for me, incredibly disappointing – a part from a couple of tracks, the songs were weak, a stark warning of what can happen when a band is pushed into a rushed release by greedy record companies.

Nonetheless it was number 1.

This album is far more satisfying, it's got more balls, more crunch, more imagination, more substance, more variety and far better songs. I may have slagged off maturity once or twice in my life, but that doesn't mean that I think things should be half-arsed and under prepared. This album shows that once these imperfections are removed from their work, The View are actually quite an interesting band worth taking a listen to.

The band are tight, starting to care more about ideas than image, and these ideas are of a quality that make every song a possible single, and importantly, they still seem to be enjoying themselves. Thank goodness this is a band who have dodged, or shunned, the draining corporate mentality.

Not that it will do so well in the charts, as their fickle favouritism seems already to have passed.

The Race : In My Head It Works (Shifty Disco)

If you thought anthemic, lighters in the air indie-pop with soaring choruses and huge hooks had had its day, then take a listen to this. Track 2, the first single from the album 'I Get It Wrong’, is probably the best representation of what this band do. It’s dirty, got a chorus the size of Everest and showcases the great pop lyrics they possess. They'd win no races for originality (The Killers, Arcade Fire and Power of Dreams all spring to mind) but if you're after an uplifting pop moment or two, The Race get the chequered flag.

Crystal Stilts : Alight of Night (Angular) (
I do sometimes feel suspicious that so many bands are making records that so blatantly appeal to fuddy duddy old timers. People like me. This album is dripping with allusions to The Jesus and Mary Chain, Velvet Underground, The House of Love and even Joy Division; what's even better there's a scarcely hidden love for the New Zealand Flying Nun's label bands of the 80s that I used to love so much – The Clean, The Bats and of course the fantastic Chills.

Should our pop pioneers really be so blatantly retro?

But then again, if the record introduces a whole new generation to these bands and gives me a new lease of life, so what?

The quality of some of these tracks is awesome; dripping with reverb, haunted by dreamy melody, drawled out vocals like the last gun slinger in the West, aching with regret, Crystal Stilts make Glasvegas sound like lightweight pop-punkers. Just as endearing are the subtle flourishes and unexpected touches that accompany nearly every track, such as the country twang of a steel guitar in 'Prismatic Room' or the achingly nostalgic organ line in 'Crystal Stilts'. These help give the songs individuality, something the band still needs to work on, while underlining the fact that their strength lies not in breaking new ground but in softly ram-raiding their influences and creating something new and beautiful from their pilferings.

Engine : Fringe (

A few months ago I reviewed a blank copy of this album here, and enjoyed it immensely for its political commitment and outspoken bolshiness. Now thanks to the nice people at Beefy Marauder Recordings, I have a (mostly) working copy of the album so I can enjoy it all over again.

And I can report that this isn't going to be an instant pop sensation, but if you like your music slightly unhinged and very definitely lo fi, you'll love this. The obvious humour in the lyrics (song titles include 'Stable as a Table' and 'Practise Makes Purple') is reflected in the mad bleeps, drum loops, unlikely samples, keyboard meanderings and percussive virtuoisity that make up this record, which work together to show that if you're inspired, you don't need millions of dollars or a brain dead PR machine.

So to finish in the spirit of plagarism that has imbued a lot of these reviews (though no one can accuse Engine of not being original), here's the Baltimore City Paper

much of Fringe feels like lo-fi audio splatter paint--squirmy synths, chirping electronics, back-of-a-cave vocals, and lots of samples, of course … it's the kinda thing that happens in a basement with a bottle of something foul, a cheap microphone, and a sampler.

If this sounds like your trough of slurry, get your skates on – only 100 copies made!


Her Next Friend : Disaster Casual (

What's wrong with me? Maybe it's that spring weather I mentioned at the top ...

When I mark a pile of school books, usually the ones at the bottom that I look at once I've already been sat there for hours, get a raw deal – less time, less sympathy, less effort. And so it often is with review writing. But not today despite the hours I've been tethered to the CD player.

For here's Her Next Friend, all poppy and and rocky and fun,with muscular beats, unmistakable big guitar sounds and songs that sound instantly familiar – in fact a lot of these tracks sound a lot like lost classics, something an American Teenage fan club fronted Lou Reed would have come up with. The reviewer who called them “jangly-guitared alterna-garage rock” seems to have hit the nail on the head, not quite there on a level with Super Deluxe but headed in the right direction.

So as I approach the end of my massive reviewing task, a theme seems to emerge, and that is that cutting edge guitar music seems to be mostly about recycling different past greats – but what does it take to be a 'new great'?

I'd suggest that to to add a little bit of the unexpected, to introduce unlikely bed fellow, to add an explosive spark of inspiration.
Which is surely the next step for this band.


Rosey R*E*P*E*A*T

Which bitch about these reviews on our message boards here