Eastgate is sound Giza

THEY don’t rap and they’re from Manchester – hotly-tipped new band Egyptian Hip Hop release their debut single tomorrow, with the help of Castle Donington’s Samuel Eastgate.
The Late Of The Pier frontman was behind the production desk for Wild Human Child, released as a double A-side with Heavenly on February 1.

Husky Rescue not worth saving

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HELSINKI’S Husky Rescue may not have crafted a dog’s dinner in Ship Of Light, but you needn’t rush out in an emergency to pick up a copy either.
The closest comparison I can draw to the group’s evocative indie pop is that of fellow Scandanavians The Cardigans – in fact I have to confess I clicked off and had a brief, nostalgic listen to their Gran Turismo half-way through reviewing this album.
There are positive differences between the bands – such as the subtle ambient noises and orchestral layers that fill out each track, or the leanings toward Americana that drop in.
There are also meandering experimentations with electronica that hit more than miss as the album progresses.
But ultimately it’s hard to persevere with Husky Rescue when they lack both the sheer icy cool and the subtle humour of their nearest sonic neighbours.

Growing popularity

AHEAD of a tour of village halls across the country – including a trip to Quorn Village Hall on February 12 – folk duo Trevor Moss and Hannah-Lou were kind enough to send me a copy of their self-titled album.
A review of Trevor Moss And Hannah-Lou is coming up on this site, but I thought I’d say a quick thanks to the pair – because tucked inside the CD sleeve was a packet of “tommy seeds”.
This is probably the first time that this blog has actually put food on my table – although I do have to grow the tomatoes myself first.
It’s also a timely reminder to other acts, artists, PR companies, labels etc. – bribery is as good, if not better, than flattery.
My address is on the right…

Hot Hot Chip

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SYNTH nerds Hot Chip‘s fourth album One life Stand sees them in the form of their lives.
After suffering from the curse of patchiness on still-brilliant LPs like The Warning and Made In The Dark, their latest album is their most mature, most consistent collection yet.
The group exhibit the ultimate in geek chic here – not just by donning tank tops, correctional shoes and milk-bottle glasses, but by making the building blocks of cheesy dance cooler than a frozen cucumber.
So while the killer single a la Over And Over or Ready For The Floor that made the group’s name may be missing here, in its place is a killer album.

Knife cut in to opera

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I EXPECT all artists, over time, to progress their music, to experiment, to evolve – but opera?
I have to say I wasn’t expecting bird-faced knob-twiddling siblings The Knife to craft an opera based on the life and work of Charles Darwin, but, as they say, nature abhors a vacuum, so someone was bound to do it sooner or later.
And better them behind Tomorrow, In A Year than Girls Aloud, hey?
And alongside cohorts Mt Sims and Planningtorock, the Scandanivian dance duo have had a pretty good stab at it – although opera purists would likely disagree.
The traditional ‘fat lady singing’ vocals associated with the genre are offset by unsettling electronica, animal noises and extended instrumental interludes, occasionally bursting forth with gloriously epic tracks like Variation Of Birds, Annie’s Box and Colouring Of Pigeons.
So if you’re looking for something a little different and a bit challenging to listen to, Tomorrow, In A Year is surely the natural selection.

Corinne Bailey hooray

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WHEN a new album from Corinne Bailey Rae dropped on my desk this cold, wet January, I was a little surprised – as Rae was previously so Summery the sun actually shone from there.
However, like the seasons, Rae’s previously perfect sunshine pop has waned into a more soulful, serious output on The Sea.
I shouldn’t have been so shocked, as it’s not the first change in Rae’s career – which actually began as frontwoman for heavy metal band Helen – and it’s hardly surprising the tragic death of her husband Jason Rae has muted her sunny musical disposition.
But with a more personal, emotive soul feel here laced with elements of funk and rock, it has gone to show that behind the twee pop debut was a real voice and a real talent.

Scott talent

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NEW Orleans-born jazz trumpeter Christian Scott is a talent worth, well, trumpeting.
Because although the musician has a contemporary, forward-thinking take on the genre throughout Yesterday You Said Tomorrow, his playing has a real timeless quality to it, reminiscent of Birth Of The Cool-era Miles Davis.
His playing has a subdued, breathy feel to it, capable of wandering improvisation as much as tightly running through Thom Yorke‘s vocal line on a cover of The Eraser.
And the music mimics this feel, all sparse acoustic bass and brushed drums.
It’s safe to say that from the first note of Yesterday You Said Tomorrow, this LP made my day.

Oh No Ono a no no

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OVEREGGS, not Eggs, should be the title of Oh No Ono‘s new album.
Because the Danish group overcook every track on their sophomore album, which was recorded in a mixture of studios and unusual locations such as churches, forests, beaches and abandoned factories.
It was probably more fun to make than it is to listen to.
Eggs is made up of bombastic operatic indie, scrambled up with wacky samples, cod-Beatles psychedelia and seemingly anything else the group stumbled upon during the nine-month-long recording process.
As a result, the messy Eggs is not worth shelling out on.

"Expect surprises" says Download

GIRLS Aloud to headline Download Festival?
Unlikely – but speaking after the announcement AC/DC are to break their recent festival duck to headline Download, the Castle Donington festival’s booker-in-chief Andy Copping has warned that there may be bigger surprises in store for 2010.
He told Sound Advice: “You’ll have to wait and see, but there’s at least one big surprise which will shock everybody – in a good way.
“We will be keeping the bill as diverse as possible and we’re happy with it. There’s always been variety across the whole bill.
“When we booked the Prodigy I was vilified, but when I brought them back everybody was so excited.
“The same happened with Pendulum, but they turned out to be one of the bands of the weekend.
“The reaction to AC/DC has been a huge amount of amazement and excitement – they just don’t do festivals – and the other two headliners we’ll be announcing in the coming weeks are also both big acts and worthy headliners.”

Romance Is Boring is interesting

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WELSH band Los Campesinos! are not your conventional indie pop band.
For a start there’s seven of them, eight when live, and their new album, Romance Is Boring, is chock-full of unwieldy titles like A Heat Rash in the Shape of the Show Me State; or, Letters from Me to Charlotte or We’ve Got Your Back (Documented Minor Emotional Breakdown #2).
And this increasingly-obtuse nature is also clearly exhibited in the band’s music, on this, their third album in 24 months.
For every catchy angular post-punk riff – such as the sporadic chorus There Are Listed Buildings of the gloriously up-tempo Straight In At 101 – there’s an unexpected change of direction or oddball lyric to temper it.
This results in a cigarette-drag of an LP – not exactly pleasant on first encounter, but you can’t help but be drawn back for more.
Romance may be boring, but for all their spiky awkwardness, Los Campesinos! remain as loveable as ever.