Screaming Tarts...

SCREAMING TARTS: The Album (Vol. 3)

I'm not a big fan of reviewing 20 track CDs. I find it difficult. And, at times, a smidgeon dull, for the sole reason that here is a load of bands that you will mostly never hear of again. Is it a waste of time? Maybe indeed. This one, brought to you by the folks at the e-zine of the same name, was no exception. Though that's not to say it's rubbish. On the contrary; after ploughing my way through it, I might even go so far to say as it is well worth your pennies, if only for the surprising variety of sounds of the underground, both rough and smooth, it does bestow. Swerving from the biggest hunk of sleazy cock-rock to the ballsiest punk, the token eccentric bonus track to the group that sound like The Darkness, dodging the poor misled whose frontman used to be in "Hollyoaks" and now worships at the church of Fightstar, you reach the stuff that will better sell this compilation.

And those names you might like to remember, in non-alphabetical order, are Disarm (for their pretty cool Therapy-style shindig); Star Scream (for the fact that their fast-paced, sexy-laced rock n'roll makes me want to chew face with the lead singer. As melodic as Muse but without the tight pants. The word "chug" was invented for them), Blow Up Betty (catchy-Aussie-chicks-meets-Hole-except-they-can-sing. And I hear The Bangles in there too), Zen Motel (for the album guest appearance from CJ of The Wildhearts. They sound like The Ga Gas sweating over their guitars), Catfish Scar (stunningly dark and intense electro-acoustics with rich meaningful vocals) and Bernard (mainly because they're a band called Bernard. Good for feeling lonely to. Whispering songsmithery. Nice).

In fact, my only gripe with the latter half of said tunes is that it's a shame that a song by The Visions features, a twee song at that called "Morrissey's tongue" (I hate Morrissey) with the lyric "I opened my eyes and all I saw was England" (I hate England too). It almost spoiled proceedings but not quite. I at least have to admit that it is an improvement on The Dawn Parade.

This CD is available now from and will only cost you £6 so don't be stingy and cough up.


I'm the kind of girl whose head is easily turned. And I can never make up my mind. Last month I would have hated this. Now I strangely find that five blokes from Hertfordshire are pressing all the right buttons. Having done naughty and outrageous things like DJing at illegal raves and losing their minds in East London squats, the next step was obviously to form a foot-stomping indie band and play catchy, feisty tunes with all manner of up-and-coming glitterati of NME dahlings. Thus, fitting in with Dirty Pretty Things or Babyshambles or any other band that gives the dancefloor a good kick up the arse of a Friday, "Fire! Fire!" justifies the so-called hype, whilst the dance-infused version of B-side "Piss in the disco" will thrill market-stall holders at what is left of this summer's festivals as, by playing it, they attract many a guarana-fuelled hippy in need of a blanket and a bop. So, although this special edition limited 7" (white vinyl: ooh-la-la!) is apparently virtually sold out before being pressed, this is one that I would recommend borrowing from your local lending library or something.

Released 28th August 2006

COSTAR: This Awakening

I recently played football with a Russian dolphin called Stephen. It was wonderful and memorable. Two choice words I wouldn't use to describe this offering from a London-based quartet whose drummer, if anyone remembers, used to be in Rialto some time in the 1990's, I think. Albeit melodic enough and relatively as inoffensive as jangly guitar-pop gets, I am not convinced it is entirely useful to have another band that sounds akin to Snow Patrol, Keane and the like. Still, far be it from me not to admit that even these bands come out with the odd gem, don't they? Let's hope Costar's next offering follows suit.

Released 14th August

Anna C