If You Seek Britney…

• OOPS she did it again – Britney has released yet another cheeky, catchy electropop single sure to ride high in the charts.
The new track, If You Seek Amy, is the third single to be taken from her latest album Circus.
• Dani Harmer, best known for her role as CBBC’s Tracey Beaker, has a debut single out this month.
Free, the theme tune to Dani’s House, her own sitcom, is an infectious catchy pop rock track.
• King Cannibal has teamed up with French rappers Face-A-Face for a brutal new single.
Virgo mixes King Cannibal’s fidgety dubstep and drum and bass with a vocal assault from the female vocalists.
• These are The Days, the next big pop rock band to attack the charts.
The Devon-based band have released a new single, Never Give Up, this week, ahead of their debut album’s release later this year.
• Freak folk band Our Brother The Native have released their new album.
Sacred Psalms is a dense collection of tracks which mixes experimental, orchestral, folk and post rock influences.
• The summery sound of Harrogate-born, Barbados-raised singer Livvi Franc is captured on new single Free.
The single, out on May 11, a mixture of pop, R&B, folk and the West Indian reggae with an underlying Soca beat.
• Minus IQ are hoping for a positive response to their debut album.
Home Cinema, which is out now, is an enthralling mix of rock, electro, dance and indie.
• Singer Lisa Hannigan, best known as the female vocalist on Damien Rice’s O and 9 albums, has released her debut solo album.
The ethereal Sea Sew is out this week in the UK, after going Platinum in her native Ireland.
• A little bird has told me that Sparrow And The Workshop are set to release their first material.
The three-piece release country-tinged alt folk single Devil Son/The Cold-Hearted Twist on May 11, before releasing a mini album, Sleight Of Hand, on May 25.
• If all of this is music to your ears, you can read more from the pop world online at www.echoisaacashe.blogspot.com

Fruits of the Forest


FOR the latest LP in the Baka Beyond project, English folk musicians Su Hart and Martin Cradick went to great lengths – the Cameroonian rainforest in fact.
The latest in 17-years of collaborations between the pair and the tribe, Baka Beyond The Forest‘s basis is field recordings taken of Baka pygmy women singing traditional African tunes in the nation’s forests in the evenings.
Conjours up images in you head, doesn’t it?
Can you imagine the likes of Bono and The Edge stalking through the undergrowth, dictaphone in hand, moving in mysterious ways?
Sadly the resulting album, made from these recordings with selected vocal lines replayed by traditional instruments such as guitars and violins, as interesting as it is, is never as arresting as the premise behind it.

Our Brother The creative


DISCLAIMER – although I have given this album a four-star rating, by the time it’s released on Monday I reserve the right to change my mind to award full marks for Our Brother The Native‘s latest.
When I first embarked on listening to Sacred Psalms, I had a three in mind, possibly even a two – I admit I was bored with it to begin with.
However in the space of a week or so, it’s grown on me, like some sort of musical parasite.
Hell, it’ll probably be in my Albums Of The Year 2009 come December.
The album is a strange one, with some tracks sounding more like a poetry reading over the top of an orchestra warming up being recorded from the far side of a cathedral than a pop song.
As the album progresses, the lyrics do come more to the fore and drums become more apparent in the disparate mixture of influences that the group layer.
With reference points in classical, post rock, folk, indie, world and much else along the way, yet standing alone, Sacred Psalms really is devine.

Lashings of Lisa

HARD dance DJ Lisa Lashes will be performing a 90-minute set at Loughborough club Rapture on May 1.
The DJ appears at the Swan Street venue as part of T.F.I Tidy alongside Scott Fo-Shaw, Jon BW, Danny Lee and D-Railed. Tickets cost £8.

Clemmons lacks zest


DESPITE the album title’s assertions, Texan Jessica Clemmons is unlikely to become a permanent feature in the UK charts with debut Permanent.
This is no slight on Clemmons herself, whose voice is clearly passable – she’s the singer of choice for sporting events in her native Houston, by all accounts.
However her pipes are put to no good use singing Permanent‘s formulaic pop soul tracks that would have been more at home in the early ’90s.
These have then been polished so hard at the production desk that they are completely devoid of any kind of distinguishing features whatsoever.
The resulting music is so middle of the road, it’s amazing that Clemmons hasn’t got cat’s eyes.



CASTROVALVA – a punk math rock band, if such a thing can exist – unleash their debut mini album on May 4.
The Leeds duo, who evoke the spirit of the short-lived pair Death From Above 1979 in ethos as well as application, literally batter their way through the eight-track listing.
Apart from the breather London Kills Me and Bellhausen, which features Leemun Smith as a deranged alternative Justin Hawkins, the eponymous album is an instrumental, heads-down blitzkreig of noise.
And Castrovalva, who share their name with an Italian village, an Escher sketch and an episode of Doctor Who, are either doing something very clever or very stupid underneath their shroud of feedback.
Either way, it’s a lot of sweaty fun.
• You can download one of the tracks from Castrovalva, Triceratops, by clicking here.

Negative comments


NOW I don’t mean to be overly negative about electro outfit Burn The Negative.
In fact half expecting a heavy metal onslaught on pressing play, I was pleasantly surprised to hear the Carlisle group’s synthpop sound.
However I have some severe reservations about their debut album, In The Atmosphere.
Firstly, this is nothing new, by several decades.
Not a crime in itself, but while the new wave sound is entirely electronic, it’s backed by the an array of the most pedestrian, stock house beats.
These in turn hardly liven up Burn The Negative’s positively dour new romantic vocal approach.
Burn The Negative – not exactly hot stuff.

Caught in the Webb


THERE’S something about Acrobat, the first long-player from Jo Webb And The Dirty Hands, that I can really empathise with.
And not just the scruffy cartoon on the cover with receding hair and glasses that exhibits some serious Ashe family-style genes.
No, there’s an air of honesty about the riffing pop rock on show here that sits somewhere between Weezer and The Feeling.
It’s a clever yet fun listen that knows how to kick it when required, and is packed with more hooks than Abu Hamza’s wardrobe.
Seriously, just listen to Acrobat, and you’ll flip.