Lowri Williams

16:21 19th May 2004

‘The Sleep Shelter EP’ is Rachel Goswell’s latest release, a taster of her forthcoming album ‘Waves Are Universal’. Formally of Slowdive and Mojave 3, Goswell has used her haunting voice in a variety of ways. Despite being organically produced this EP is rammed full of interesting sounds and pre-recorded material. The introductory track ‘Plucked’ features Goswell’s voice recorded in a cave in Chislehurst in order to achieve a natural echo, something that really makes an impact, the track even crescends into the sound of insects recorded whilst on holiday in Thailand! The EP's interesting use of a whole range of instrumentation and random recordings add depth but don’t always work. ‘Flying With Gene’ is a beautifully simple acoustic track with forceful lyrics, however it concludes with a recording of a crowd at Pompey FC singing - great, but not quite sure where that fits in with the cello? Also at times Goswell’s voice is in danger of being drowned out by the mulitudes of percussion, bongos, rainsticks, tambourines and cymbals. Goswell has succeeded in making an EP which allows old and new listeners alike to appreciate her voice but unfortunately it is background music at best.

‘Slave Trade’ is the latest release from Glaswegian 5 piece Hidingplace. To be honest I wish they had never left Scotland. If you enjoy listening to the vocal equivalent of nails scraping down on a blackboard then this is the band for you. With thrashing guitars and sporadic "bad timing" Hidingplace will probably be the next big thing.

‘Professional Distortion’ is taken from Miss Kittin’s latest album ‘i.com’ which she took time out from her constant DJing activities and live dates to accommodate the recording of. The track opens with the words ‘ok before I start anything I have to say that I’m undercover’, thank god that this lady is no longer undercover organising illegal raves and instead is making dance music that is a million miles away from the Eurodrival we've come to expect. The title really says it all; this track has distorted French-accented-pop vocals from the lady herself. Heavily engrossed with unforgettable synthesisers and loops, this track really is electronic music at its best featuring the Queen of the scene, what could be better? This is one for the dance floors and will get all those dirty basement parties really moving.

I can’t remember where, but I once read an article on Muse where the writer described them as "a band that used to aspire to be Radiohead but have now found their own niche in the industry". What I want to know is what is wrong with aspiring to the internationally acclaimed Radiohead? They could do a lot worse, a fact that they must be aware of if their latest single is anything to go by. ‘Sing for Absolution’ is cracking, but definitely still has a Radiohead element to it. Matt Bellamy’s piano and vocals are absolutely breathtaking, and the melody of the whole tune leaves you feeling spookily uplifted, along with the excellent guitars going solo towards the conclusion of the track, it's one of those that you won’t be able to get out of your head all day. Muse are set to overpower everyone at festivals this summer and audiences will definitely be singing along to this.

'The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows' is the re-released single from Brand New, previously only released on 7”vinyl, fans will be pleased that they can now pick up the single in CD format. Taken from album ‘Deja Entendu’ , ‘The Quiet Things… ‘ features exciting guitar riffs, a catchy melody, harmonies, good vocals, men shouting (always nice to hear) and is well produced. It is however powerfully boring, only because there is so much of this half-cut thrash metal around at the moment and unfortunately for Brand New there are others who do it better.

Cherryfalls are the baby of Island Records and it shows. Discovered playing in the backroom of a pub in London, Cherryfalls were offered a development deal by Island and have never looked back. What would have occurred within the bands natural development we will never know, what has happened is that these four lads have been moulded into what Island perceive to be hot music. Their debut single ‘For All My Sins’ is painful to listen to as it is soooo predictable. When will record labels realise that a nice voice and four well played instruments just don’t cut it? Drums and guitars are not enough when the songwriting is so crap. Where is the originality and creativity? These are four young men and they sound like what my dad and his mates would have come up with if they were given a recording studio for 12 weeks. Lets hope that the album has a little more ooommphh.

Marco Haass aka T.Raumschmiere has stepped out of his self made techno camp and is dipping a toe into that of hip hop. Described as everything from electro punk to dirty funk, this new single has all the elements of a protest song. Featuring MC Soon T, ‘A Million Brothers Marching (blah, blah, blah)’ exudes militant lyrics set to catch people out ‘I deplore what you stand for, hate who you are, hate how you speaking with your blah, blah, blah’. Taken from his 2003 album ‘Radio Blackout’, Haas manages to keep a grip on the highly polished hip hop beats backing up MC Soon T’s gritty but groovy vocals, all the while keeping some breaks up his sleeve just to catch out any new ears. This is one of the best single’s Gigwise has heard all year and is everything that so many new releases are not: interesting, witty, experimental, creative; go and buy it now before everyone else realises that this is a real corker.

The eight piece Californian outfit, Chk Chk Chk, or !!! as they are sometimes known have recently released ‘Pardon my Freedom/Shit, Schiesse Merde PT 2’ on Warp records. Home to artists such as Squarepusher and Aphex Twin, Chk Chk Chk are distinctly funkier then some of the techno freaks on the Warp label. Don’t get me wrong, these boys love their beats, but there are other things going on with ‘Pardon My Freedom’ like the sampled chainsaw for example. The prevalent drum machines take you back to New Order’s ‘Blue Monday’ and the synth sounds feel like they are almost about to spiral out of control before suddenly going all disco on your ass. This sounds great and proves that these boys are able to have fun whilst making some serious beats. Definitely one for the record collection.

I'd heard that female fronted  Katastrophy Wife were a bad rock band, I wanted to make up my own mind, I wish I hadn’t. Double A-Side  ‘Blue Valient/Emit Time’ featuring vocals from Carina Round starts out ok, with a nice guitar intro and soft vocals, very nice me thinks. Then, all of a sudden, the noise made me switch the CD off and begin again. This is a schizophrenic track, made up of soft vocals and head splitting guitars. ‘Emit Time’  is not any better but at least keeps a theme of shouting going throughout with the lyrics ‘why, why, why’ taking up most track time. Please don’t buy this and then maybe Katastrophy Wife might go back to were they came from.

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