We Are Not Who You Think We Are …
Alan Smith risks losing his shine

Datapuddle - I Risk Losing My Shine
Rarely do you find a band whose name resembles their music so closely. This album is a fairly abstract collection of songs with little discernable direction, a jumble of mostly electronic ideas. It's professional, utterly anti-mainstream and far above the standard of most unsigned bands. Vocals don't play much part as the crash of simultaneous ideas is usually enough for the senses to endure, without the need for singing to deliver the excitement. An infant Animal Collective if you like. They should have any trouble getting signed. They probably will, but they shouldn't. www.datapuddle.co.uk.

The Brent Flood - The Autumn 2007 EP
This bunch clearly know what they're doing. It's all too easy to think you're listening to a successfully modern indie band, not a new band just finding their way in the music world. They know where they are heading; for success. "Skinny Machines" in particular sounds like a hundred other chart hits. Which is all very well but are they actually worth listening to? For the easily pleased listener yes, their songs are satisfying and contain "complusifootappy", that until now (trademark: me) unnameable quality of the ability to make you tap your feet whether you wanted to or not. But the more you listen to the lyrics you more you notice the complete lack of substance obscured by their diversion of nothing more than a decent structure. The carefree Razorlight-loving ones of you will lap this up and fair play to you. At least they don't sound the plethora of dreary soft rock pastiche bands like The Feeling and The Hoosiers who seem to be clogging up the nations airwaves. Me? I'll keep looking for something with a bit more thanks. www.thebrentflood.co.uk

Avalon Way - We Are EP
Yippee. Two words stand about from the accompanying note and they fill me with horror. Post. Hardcore. My knowledge of hardcore goes as far as being a fan of the Pulp album This Is Hardcore. That wasn't, and what's more neither apparently is this. It's "Post". It's on another level beyond hardcore. You might have sensed I'm waffling somewhat. Whilst I don't have any minimum word count in mind, I don't feel it's fair to dismiss a band with a one line review simply because I don't really "get" the music. Actually, scrub that, I do get it. It's whingy, whiney, lazy, and the guitars remind me of someone strumming along to the three button easy section of Guitar Hero hitting. the. same. note. over. and. over. www. avalonroad. co. uk.

12 Stone Toddler - Comeback!
Chirpy rockers 12 Stone Toddler are back with this, their third single Comeback! The requisite plinky-plonky keys are in place along with their unmistakeable funky rhythm. With each release that goes by they continue to mature in terms on songwriting whilst keeping a delightfully immature and unique sound. The lyrics are thankfully still dark and mischievous yet unlike some of their songs, just about suitable for radio play. I'm still waiting for this band to start to get the acclaim they deserve, but I'll continue to hope for a breakthrough as they really are a fun and fantastic little outfit. www.12stonetoddler.com.

Karen Bishko - Singles For Singles
"Karen Bishko is a fantastic new artist for the Sex and the City generation". Oh dear, never have I been so put off before even putting a CD on before. No matter, I'll throw all preconceptions away and let the music do the talking. Unfortunately it doesn't appear to be saying anything. Or rather it's wrapping up lyrics, which purport to connect by telling a generic story of lost love, in a smooth and sickly package. How horrid. I have a couple more quotes for you that should help me to emphasise how much you don't want to listen to this record. "With a unique brand of 'relationship-based songwriting'… like millions of other women she is missing true love". And she doesn't just offer music, not just after the publics hard earned cash, oh no, she also has her own agony aunt "Dear Karen" feature on her Myspace page. How very noble of her. www.myspace.com/karenbishko.

Sonicflyer - Sun In My Pocket
Whilst they try to claim tangible influences by My Bloody Valentine a closer comparison would be Belle & Sebastian, or more harshly Snow Patrol. But they are not THAT bad, just a bit on the lightweight side. Yulia's yearning vocals are soft and soothing but never striking and the music drifts along inconspicuously like a chilled out Concretes. Strangely it's the final demo track "Overseas" which shows the greatest promise to me. It's more densely layered than the other tracks and as a consequence the chorus has real power and energy. And it's this that gives the glimmer of real potential. So I'm not quite ready to write them off just yet. www.sonciflyer.net.

Derrin Nauendorf - Shipwrecked
Whilst country blues music is never likely to be something I go out and buy, or choose to listen to at all for that matter, I can see where the talent and strength lies in this release. It's certainly powerful, albeit in a country way, and the songs are distinctive and melodic. Bob Harris is a fan, and he's an authority on this kind of thing unlike me so that's a solid seal of approval for fans of the genre. But I can't help but wonder what it is that people hear in this that I just don't, where is the pleasure in music that has no sense of atmosphere? www.derrinnauendorf.com.

My Federation - Don't Wanna Die
Despite the opening harmony sounding like they're about to break out into Sweet Home Alabama, this track quickly progresses into something much more palatable. Furious guitars combine with a stupidly catchy chorus and a relentless synth backing to create a vaguely electro pop song that quickly cements itself in your brain. It's funky and has a real force to create an impression and grab the attention of the listener, the kind of impactiveness Arctic Monkeys had. I think the world is ready for a modern crowd pleasing Super Furry Animals, and I think that's what we've got here. www.myfederation.co.uk.

Eutopia - Life
Apparently Metallica and Nine Inch Nails would be proud of this. Funny, I didn't realise either of those bands were fans of dreary 80s Def Leppard style misery. It's dreary, over earnest, repetitive and empty of all meaning or excitement.

KunK - We Are Not Who You Think We Are
Making a return to the Repeat world are young indie outfit KunK, who are back with more ballsy angst filled foot-tappers. The title track is oh-so Pixies, with requisite Kim Deal style backing "a-ha-ha" vocals. Second track Public Image Ltd is the "something to say" track, an irony filled scathing dismissal of current pop culture trends. Finally, Little People is the rawest offering, surely suited more to the mosh pit than to live recordings. KunK are an aggressive, lively, authentic and delightful prospect, seeming able to churn out a stream of solid melodic numbers which allow them to stake their claim to become a much needed young British alternative to Foo Fighters. www.kunk.co.uk.

The Rudy Trouvé Septet - Songs And Stuff Recorded Between 2003 And 2007 Part One
I'm sure you've already gathered from the album title that this isn't going to be the next great generic commercial smash, instead it's a personal and intimate little box of delights clearly very carefully put together. Rudy was a founding member of dEUS, which should sound your credibility alert and get you as interested as I was to hear what was on offer. This is an unwieldy 25 song collection, and you do have to pick through to find the pop gems amongst the lo-fi interludes. But the better songs are delightful, like a reclusive and stripped-down Elliott Smith. It flits between styles, as well as between French and English, the constant variety revealing a very talented songwriter happily doing his own thing for whoever wishes to listen. Download free tracks from www.heavenhotel.be.

The Great St. Louis - Forever Now
This opens sounding unintentionally like the opening credits to a shoddy American TV show (although I'm not sure why) this reminds me of the late 90's punk pop outfit Lit. It's fast paced vibrant melodic punk pop, which probably makes it not very credible, not REAL punk, but I don't really care about anything like that. All I care about is whether I enjoy the music, and I really do, although I feel like I shouldn't. It's an album to turn up loud, to get you going before a night out and cheer you up and bounce along to if you're feeling down. I really didn't expect to like this, being as it is out of the range of music I tend to go for but it really is quite fucking fantastic fun. www.myspace.com/thegreatstlouis.

Russell Joslin - Dream Token
Here I have another album far better than I expected it to be. It's filled with real anger and power, driven by Russell's cutting and harsh voice that allows him to spew out his fury to the backing of his scratchy haphazard acoustic guitar playing. It's cruel, relentless, and very much without comparison in the current music scene. Ever wished Jeff Buckley was a bit more pissed off? No, neither had I, but hearing this provides me with something I (and the world) didn't even realise I was missing, in the shape of a clearly very talented individual. www.russelljoslinmusic.co.uk.

By Alan Smith

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