About as interesting as Jamie Oliver
Jess Trash delivers her spiels on wheels…

Think about the first time you heard/saw the Manic Street Preachers. Remember? Maybe it was the blinding, blamming, intellectu-tack assault of "Motown Junk," or the all-encompassing sweep of "A Design For Life." On the other hand, maybe it was the ratted hair and the raccoon-eyed stares and the frankly ridiculous outfits they'd obviously nicked from their nans' wardrobes when no-one was looking. Maybe it was the lyrics ("Songs of love echo underclass betrayal"? Eh?) or the one-liners in interviews. Hell, maybe it was the Michael Stipe Comment. Whatever it was that made you start and go, "WHAT?!" - whatever it was that made you sit up and take a bit of fucking notice - chances are you remember it.

Think about the first time you heard/saw Travis. Remember that? Nah, me neither.

There's a point here. The point is: First impressions count. If only someone had told Restrainin Order this, there might not be three (Three! Count 'em!) spelling mistakes on their CD cover - which itself looks like a half-arsed piece of Year 7 art homework. But we can forgive this, if we assume that the band either a) are dyslexic, or b) have an average age somewhere under 15. Sadly, I can't forgive the music. Turgid, passionless punk-metal by numbers with indecipherable vocals. About as interesting as Jamie Oliver. 3/10 http://www.myspace.com/restraininorder4

Santa Dog (below) do a nineties-jangly indie-pop thing that's likely to be loved by Long Blondes/Hot Puppies fans, and is actually rather delightful. Title track "Belle de Jour" is quietly addictive, while "Rosa" and "1000 Cranes" bring to mind the creepy edge of Get In-era Kenickie. Plus points for classic ice-queen vocals and "la-la-la"s. Go listen. 8/10 http://www.myspace.com/santadoguk

With a name like LR Rockets and a press release promising "the eternal journey of sex, booze and rock'n'roll," I'm expecting a quick and mindless trip to the depths of cock-rock hell. What I'm not expecting is this kind of angular, frenetic post-punk, a paranoid intensity twisting "London Girls"'s chant of "I've had such a great night" into new and sarcastic shapes. Sounds much better than it looks. 7/10 http://www.myspace.com/lrrockets

Now, let's get one thing straight. I fucking hate New Rave. I hate its mindless hedonism, its ignorance of old rave (which may have been the product of middle-class hippies but did at least start out with some genuinely oppositional aims), its pushing of brain-deadening party drugs as somehow rebellious and the fact that it's not so much style over substance as style completely without substance. Despite all this, I can't help enjoying CSS's "Alala." Maybe it's because I'm a sucker for girls who sound a bit dominatrixy and come across as cooler than 99.99% of any boys in any bands ever, or maybe it's just because I kinda like bleepy noises. Yeah, yeah, I know. I'll go stand in the corner now. 6/10 http://www.myspace.com/canseidesersexy

Deluka's "Stop_Stop" is essentially the same thing, only a bit scuzzier and it goes on for too long. B-sides "Flashbacks" and "I'll Wait" are much better, though - hyperactive sugar-rush indie-electro with occasional lovely mournful bits. 7/10 http://www.myspace.com/deluka

Female-fronted art-rockers The Neutrinos (below) manage to sound like two completely different bands on their single. They've been compared to PJ Harvey, and lead track "Build Him 'Til He Breaks" shows why; it sounds like it's been drenched in pure filth, a throbbing, menacing buildup finally exploding in howls of rage and frustration. Hypnotic. B-side "Mother's Mother Tongue" starts out sounding like textbook punk, but it's got a jittery, frantic urgency that places it firmly in the Bikini Kill/Sleater-Kinney school of distinctly uncomfortable brilliance. 8/10 http://www.myspace.com/theneutrinosinspace

Yes Boss are a grindie duo. Their single, "Tongues In Knots," is about the (yawn) dark side of celebrity, or something. It's also very dull. I'm going to go and switch it off now. 3/10 http://www.myspace.com/yesboss1

The Scourge of River City want "to produce songs with a timeless quality that have many different styles involved to give an overall broad appeal." Inspired yet? No, me neither. Now, there's nothing wrong with their demo, musically - it's fast and punky and fairly catchy - but it's also bogged down by every 'rock & roll' cliché in the book, and for all the upbeat powerchordage it still ends up sounding tired. Opening track "The Kids Of River City" contains the chorus line "I'm not trying to change the world." Good thing too, because they'd never manage it sounding like this. 5/10 http://www.myspace.com/thescourgeofrivercity

Jess Trash