My Little Problem ...
Alan Smith gets in with the new

The Academy - Album
It's time for a return to pop rock music from the 90's. The Academy, presumably named to sit themselves next to the inexplicably popular The Academy Is (maybe hoping that parents might pick up the wrong CD), make light Blink 182 music but infinitely cheesier. For some reason, they thought it would be a good idea to sing in a needlessly high pitched nasal voice for the majority of their songs. I assume this is them wishing to show off their chorister pasts, but it isn't really appropriate or pleasant with what is meant to be rock music. Use of distortion on their voices is the final straw, making them just about unlistenable. A laugh is to be gained from their novel spelling of "Parrallel". Their PR makes a great deal of how AMAZINGLY popular on Myspace they are. This is somewhat hard to believe, as I can't really think of anyone whom this music would appeal to. I'd rather listen to Busted.

Bedouin Soundclash - 12:59 Lullaby
I first saw Bedouin Soundclash supporting The Ordinary Boys last year and was rather impressed with what I heard. In a lot of ways they did a much better job of building on the ska music of the past, that they clearly love, than The Ordinary Boys did. And I'm always a sucker for a good pop song by a decent guitar band. This is their new single and it's a little disappointing. As an album track it would be fine, but it's a gentle acoustic… well lullaby, and really isn't much use as an idea of what the album will sound like. As a band statement of intent, or a bid for radio play, it fails. It is however very agreeable to listen to, but could really have been performed by anyone with a guitar and the ability to write a tune. Here's hoping there's some more upbeat creations on the album.

Breed77 - Blind
My promo copy of the new Breed77 single comes with a much appreciated promotional beer mat. This is heavy-ish rock music, making my life rather tough. But it isn't really that bad, I can even hear the words! "When I open my eyes I'm in the dark", one rather confusing line I could pick out easily. But once we near the end they give in and have a good old roar. But then they start singing in what I think is Spanish. How bizarre. As a song it never really does anything, or changes pace at all, but then I don't think their fans would want it too. For what it is (something I don't like) it's probably quite good!

The Librarians - Alice Loves Hippos And Spacemen
This is a fantastic quirky band who musically reminds me of bands like Flaming Lips, mixed with the vocal style of a less-drunk-Pogues. The bizarre title is repeated to form the chorus of a song which flits between gentle and frantic. The b-side Who Will Police The Police is equally enjoyable, a catchy little poppy song that owes much to their alphabetic and stylistic neighbours, The Libertines.

Tim Pare- Trans-Siberian Express
Sit down children, Tim's album comes with a story. No, he's not a geographically challenged Kraftwerk fan. I'll paraphrase. He quit his relationship, job and Sheffield to moved to China. He taught kids, but got stuck on the Trans-Siberian Express with some aggressive convicts who wanted his belongings. So he played them some music instead and they decided not to kill him. Whilst on the train he wrote and recorded his songs on his MP3 player. Sickeningly he described it as "a chance to look at my own journey". Quite why the "testosterone-flooded killers" (his words) were placated by his gentle acoustic numbers I don't know. But I can agree they aren't too shabby. Vocally similar to James Dean Bradfield, he's one of the better of the large numbers of singer-songwriters that I get demo CDs of. The songs are carefully crafted, the vocals unoffending, and although it is a little too soppy at times, everything is brought together in a nice little package. Needless to say, we'll never hear from him again.

JacksonsWarehouse - Hotel By The Sea
This is the debut EP by JacksonsWarehouse, who've been around for a while now supporting the likes of The Ordinary Boys and Art Brut. The title track is by-the-numbers indie. It's up tempo and bouncy, energetic and enjoyable, but indistinguishable from hundreds of other similar bands. Vocally, it's close to the superb I Am Kloot, but the song as a whole isn't up to their standards. They deserve their win of an unsigned band competition, but once signed they won't be much of a force to be reckoned with. The b-sides are much the same, pleasant but uneventful.

Underdog - Sunny Estate E.P.
This is another debut EP; this time from an Essex based 4-piece. It comes with no press release, meaning a refreshing lack of comments such as "similar to The Beatles, Radiohead and a token obscure band you won't have heard of you fool". In fact this is unfussy guitar music very much like many bands before them, but they redeem themselves by doing this in a consummate manner that is sufficient to expect, I feel, from a debut release. It gives them the potential to go on and experiment with their sound further. The chorus' are catching and the vocals satisfying. The acoustic number "Time After Time" is a bit painful, and hasn't really worked they way they'd like it to, but credit to them for trying something new. But don't bother again guys. Other than that this is another reasonably promising record.

Cherryade Music - A Very Cherry Christmas
This is a collection of Christmassy songs from the Cherryade label. And I love alternative Christmas songs. The awesome Misty's Big Adventure kick things of with the swirling & delightful Have Yourself A Psychedelic Christmas. Then Steveless / Syd Howells give us the abrasive Seasonal Schizophrenia, which is an acquired taste which I find pleasurable to the palate. One for fucking up the relatives on Christmas Day. TIGER MCS calm things down with The Way That You Arrived, a gentle song about how "This tiger's never even seen snow". Like many songs on this album it is very short but very sweet. The Hot Puppies are a band who I've been enjoying, on the rare occasions when I hear them, for some time. I've heard this song, Green Eyeliner, before. I've definitely seen them supporting someone recently, although I've no idea who! Either way it stuck in my mind then as one of their best and rather fantastic with its female vocals and indiepop loveliness. It's not really Christmassy, but who cares, it's great! The album continues with every track a lo-fi little gem. Das Wanderlust's Sleigh Ride deserves a particular mention, as it is superb in every possible way. This album costs only £5 and is available from, and is definitely worthy of your money.

Rose Kemp - Violence
That's Rose, not Ross. And she is the lead singer who, in keeping with press release laziness, is compared, like all bands with a female vocalist, to P J Harvey. Whom she sounds nothing like. She's less abrasive and more soothing. This is in fact P J Harvey but more boring. It's gentle through most of the song, and then has sudden loud bits for no real reason. It says its "hypnotic", which of course means repetitive. It's definitely not bad, simply not yet up to the quality of other more establish acts. But I wouldn't expect it to be. I do think they'd be a very good live act. There is also a hand written note with this that appears to be signed "Fart Farms", if so please increase this review to "amazing" status. The b-side Fire In The Garden repeats Rose singing the song title over and over again on top of herself many many times. It is yet more repetitive than Violence was. Hang on, I've realised its signed Fact Fans, the PR company. Oh well. I urge somebody out there to name their band Fart Farms.

My Little Problem - All These Things
My Little Problem are yet another new Brighton band, releasing this debut single through the new Brighton label Life Is Easy Records. Their music is perfect for filling that Grandaddy shaped hole in your life that has existed since the aforementioned split recently. It's a very gentle track which nonchalantly meanders along doing nothing much but sounding lovely and tranquil throughout. The vocals are understated which suits the music. The b-side is a very similar sounding song and equally as good as the title track. It's a fine art to make something very simple and gentle yet still brilliant and not at all boring. They manage it and I recommend it if, of course, you tend to like this kind of thing. I do, it's great.

Actress Hands - Half An Hour
Another low-key release from the Alex White (ESP/Brakes) featuring Brighton Indie outfit, clocking in at just 1.43. This would suggest a Brakes like tune, but it is closer to ESP treading the same indie-song-with-classic-pop-feel path. It's simple, repetitive and enjoyable, yet hardly likely to gather any attention from the wider world. Thank fuck. They are a band to keep for yourself and laugh evilly at the stupidity of the general public who are ignorant of these treasured C-list bands. The b-side What's The Name Of The Planet You're From is a bit longer but in a similar vein. Top stuff, but please keep it under your hats.

By Alan Smith