Gold From Lead
Reviews by Alan Smith

Good Shoes - Never Meant To Hurt You
I'm still yet to distinguish Good Books from Good Shoes, which is proving to be a problem when trying to remember if I like the bands. It turns out that the Shoes produce one-more-2007 jittery indie tunes much the same as everything else out at the moment. It slowly dawns on me whilst listening to this 5 track single that the reason I find them hard to remember is because there is nothing to remember. I can't even remember how the title track went by track 2. There isn't really any substance in terms of a unique song here, just a sort of general style of music trundling along. It's perfectly enjoyable, but it just sounds… err… what did it sound like again?

Bromheads Jacket - What If's & Maybes
This is the amazingly catchy soon to be released single which has being doing the rounds for a long time. It appeared on their album 'Dits From The Commuter Belt' last year, and you can even download an older version for free from their website. They emerged from the Sheffield scene last year in the wake of the emergence of Arctic Monkeys. Their sound is remarkably similar to the Monkeys, which initially helped them gain some exposure but in the long run is likely to prove their downfall. The Monkeys have success tied up, and there is little room for another one. Which is a shame as their music is equally enjoyable, with the same knack for anecdotal and humorous lyrics reeled off at tremendous pace. Destined to live in Arctic Monkeys shadow, they provide a decent fix for fans wanting more of the same.

Rotating Leslie - Radio/Stop
Next in my increasingly guitar-based pile of CDs comes a band who can best be described as a combination of the sounds of the last two bands combined, they have that similar 2007 "jerk" Good Shoes have stolen for their own, as well as the frantic Monkeys/Jacket drums and pace. Luckily their double A-side single(s) Radio/Stop are much catchier than Good Shoes proved to be. However it's still not unique or forward-thinking, but it is FUN. And isn't that all that matters?

Rotating Leslie
Pics by Julien Fauqueur

Screaming Mimi - Dorothy Millette
Next up is something thankfully different (I'm running out of ways to describe average indie), namely in the shape of some much needed female vocals. And no, that doesn't mean it sounds like PJ Harvey. This is delightfully dark and nightmarish, being release on the aptly named Phantom Power records, as it has a ghostly quality with its lyrics containing a murderous theme. The b-side Bumblebee is equally disturbing, in all the right ways, with a weird circus style backing. Fantastic, but perhaps not one for bedtime.

Buen Chico - Gold From Lead
From one extreme to the other, this is a simple slice of superb sunshine summertime skiffle. How could anyone dislike something so upbeat and happy with the world? Not I! "Again, again!" I find myself thinking as I long to once more hear its enchanting Supergrass-gone-soft happy beat. A delight.

The Oohlas - Small Parts
The Oohlas must really want me to like them; they've enclosed 2 copies of their debut single in one case! Such value for money is to be applauded, and cleverly allows you to disperse a copy onto anyone you feel might enjoy the music. Said music is also to be applauded, a memorable female fronted cross between the pop leanings of Weezer and the darker nature of Bloc Party. The b-side "From Me To You" has male vocals and creates the unlikely occurrence of The Jesus And Mary Chain on happy pills. Like Buen Chico they have created the elusive "summer sound", that is one that manages to be both light and happy but also deep and creative, they are a band of genuine quality that retain their accessibility.

The Decades -
Hang on; sod the happiness of summer, hard-rocking winter is clearly much more fun. Its old-fashioned rock'n'roll all round here with a singer who has the unfortunate handicap of the voice of Richard Ashcroft, which doesn't exactly lend itself to "proper dirty" music (in fact the dreary b-side sounds very much like one of ego-mans recent efforts). They try to keep things simple and let the quality of their songwriting and musicianship shine through. Despite their efforts this really doesn't quite have the balls they think it does and leaves me cold just as the inexplicable Kasabian do.

The Mojo Fins - Pinata Face
It's time for the hometown moment, with yet another emergent Brighton prospect. Although a band of 4, they are yet another band that really ought to be unfairly but logically lumped in with the hundreds of other worthy, talented and enchanting singer-songwriter types. Do I need to name some similar sounding creators? No, you've heard this all before and I'm pretty sure a bit of lazy generalising should just about do the trick. But if there is room in your busy life for another Elliott Smith (damn it! I've gone and done it now) then The Mojo Fins have much to offer and immersing yourself in their lush and intense world will prove immensely pleasurable.

Andrea Wilde - I'm In Love
This is a memorable but nauseating electronic song. But not a good kind of electronic, a repetitive and Top 40 sort of electronic. It's a shame as Andrea has a press release with some random writings on which make far better lyrics than the unoriginal recurring title deployed approximately every 3 seconds here. Perhaps she's just tried too hard to write a "single" and as a result has suppressed any talent she has. But on its own merits this is drivel of the highest order, and is as much of a good song as a join the dots is a work of art.


Men In Caves - Lost At Sea
Men In Caves are pinning their hopes on a grunge revival, which I think is a little optimistic. Grunge surely isn't due a revival for another three years; we haven't even had a baggy revival yet have we? To be fair to them, it is a bit of a progression from the days of Nirvana, with that word-of-the-decade "angular" effect, which only means the guitars are a bit more stop/start than they might have been 10 years ago. The vocals are suitably nasal, and there is little variation between the songs. The songs are simply too dreary though, without any real emotional or dark edge, and my overall reaction is simply to let out a large sigh and move on.

Passenger - Do What You Like
Personal Brighton favourites of mine Passenger go from strength to strength with the release of this, their best single to date. They have always been masters of delicate delightful gentle music, showing off singer Mike Rosenberg's vocal talents. But here they progress with an excellent upbeat catchy poppy number. Whereas before I've often thought that despite great songwriting they'll struggle to find an audience, with this I can see greater promise with a song that's very appealing to all. They're at various festivals over the summer so if you're after something at the Turin Brakes end of the rock'n'roll scale, which is not bad thing, you could do worse than checking them out.

12 Stone Toddler - Twang
12 Stone Toddler are a fun, quirky outfit who seem to be able to knock out twisted ad stomping pop songs with ease. This song is funky, groovy and a great showcase from a carnival of a band. Its simple riffs and crooning vocals make it an enthralling listen that I just can't get out of my head. Oh wait, no it's just that I'm playing it over and over again. Seriously, you can't fail to love this mischievous and colossal lot.

By Alan Smith