So this is the group of rebellious and beautiful young things that are being hailed "The New Libertines". And though everyone knows the ruckus that goes hand-in-hand with The Old Libertines, is it really necessary to clone them just yet? Oh, go on then. Needless to say that, exploding from the unlikely rock destination of Hull, this single features a lot of noisy guitars churning out the same three chords alongside the inevitable 40-a-day angry growl which confirms that they perhaps like The Clash just a little, and maybe The Strokes (who would have thought those two would ever have gone into the same sentence? Phew). In just over three minutes, what is essentially British-punk-by-numbers makes the ultimate promise to the kids that are hanging on their every word that living is probably worth enduring after all so scream if you want to go faster. And teenage angst being what it is, of course they all do. The bigwigs at Poptones must be rubbing their moneymakers together with glee.

Photo by Andrew Kendall.

The Paddingtons will be parking their infamous tour bus at APU on 28th April. Go and see them before the NME turns them into junkies.


The proper music press have chucked this lot in with all the other British bands supposedly starting the "New Rock Revolution". Which is apt of them, because Thee Unstrung do sound quite a bit like all the other British bands around of late (who sound not unlike the blooming Libertines; all well and good, I suppose… snooze). But, what's this? This London four-piece are a little different? With an average age of 19, they claim to be to our capital what The Beatles were to early 60's Scouseland, bringing full cockney spirit to every city, suburb and hamlet in Great Britain.
Yeah, right. It isn't working for Eastenders so why on Earth should it work for them? They may have the retro engineering skills of the man behind Hendrix and The Rolling Stones and an ex-member of Squeeze on producer duties and you well certainly sing along but The Beatles this ain't. Because The Beatles have been listened to for forty-odd years and will be listened to for forty-odd more and we don't need a re-hash of what they or any of their contemporaries did because we're all still listening to it now. Thankyou very much. Still, Thee Unstrung may just be lucky enough to hang around long enough to make their blip on the music radar because I guess they have come along at a time when the country needs more working class heroes, this single making them sound like something akin to The Jam and I did actually like it; carefree mod-pop melodies with a "bah,bah,bah" and a flurry of guitars so catchy that Humpty Dumpty could have written them. Although perhaps that isn't the best analogy to use. We all know what happened to him.

"Psycho" is released 18th April. Thee Unstrung play Cambridge APU the day after. Go forth and shake booty

THE GA GAS- Left of Centre

Fact: if you like The Wildhearts or Stone Temple Pilots, you will love The Ga Gas. Although the vocals are slightly more cliched, the members that make up this rock and roll monster are just as troubled. Which makes for some no frills, no bollocks, real-life music for a change, courtesy of frontman Tommy Gleeson and his three leather-clad mates. Touching, raw sentiments about the bitch that broke your heart compliment catchy riffs and big harmonies as perfectly as a triple Jack does a Coke, explaining why Billie Joe Armstrong wants to look like them and 80's cheesemongers Whitesnake, to name but one, welcomed them into their touring entourage with loving arms and a spritz of hairspray for that added boost. I can hear the dust being blown off many an air guitar as I speak. Yes Sir, THIS is what rock is all about.

Left of Centre is released 11th April, 2005.

THE GRATES- The ouch, the touch EP

This trio sound like a lot of fun. They like cute pink cars which they drive around their native Australia to gigs which they play with DFA1979 and The 5,6,7,8's. At these gigs they sound like the most riotous of all riot grrrrrl stripped-down musical mayhem. Like a kookier version of Yeah Yeah Yeahs or Huggy Bear, for example, The Grates are still no less empowering. Sure, it may have taken frontwoman, Patience, a while to perfect her singing voice but she now sings with an urgency and excitement that easily matches that of the other lo-fi lasses around, so well demonstrated on opening track "Message", less than two minutes of fuzzy guitars, simple drumming and the sheer pleasure of complete and utter noise that can only be created by true DIY artists, whilst "Wash me" and the subtly sexy "Trampoline" are just as cheekily commanding and totally compelling. Something for the boys and something for the girls, be sure to be first to dance like no-one's watching when one of these little gems comes on down the disco.

"The ouch, the touch" is released April 11th, 2005.

RAZORLIGHT- Somewhere else

Razorlight frontman, Johnny Borrell, recently had a sore throat and had to cancel some shows and what did most of you say? Hallelujah, hopefully he'll never sing again. Well, personally, I think that's a bit cruel, as is that nickname for his band that is floating around. Although, after hearing this, the quartet's new single in limbo between first album and next, I'm still not completely convinced by them either. It's all very thoughtful and heartfelt, it's all very anthemic, it's also, for want of a better word, quite uplifting. It's a song that goes perfectly with such chiselled good looks, more instruments have appeared to prove how clever and talented they are... blah, blah, blah. In short, this is one of those reviews where it doesn't really matter what I write anyway because Razorlight are one of those bands enjoying international acclaim, winning gratuitous amounts of shiny awards and playing to several thousands at sell-out shows in the next few months or so. Is it deserved? Who knows, who cares? Wish I could be somewhere else? Somehow, luv, I doubt it.

"Somewhere else" is released 11th April, 2005.


A tip for all bands everywhere. Please don't think that because you have put the same track on your CD in three identical guises that I will be remotely brainwashed into liking it (that goes for you too, Tempted Betty). Especially if you also refer to it as "emotional". Because anything that could be described by the word "emotional" could quite well further be described by the word "dire", at least when it comes to a group of five men with what are essentially instruments made to rock. Because men with said instruments are not really meant to have emotions, in my opinion; they are mainly meant to make you dance, sing and swoon and then consider the reason behind the song on the way home. But Countermine have more than guitars, bass and drums. They also have a piano. And a string quartet. Dear God. I can hear the crowd clapping in time from here. How it makes my stomach churn. The yearning and striking vocal means that, granted, it's more Feeder than Starsailor but there is a definite hint of both; I don't like either and personally wish that both would grow some balls or sod off with their turgid, drippy blandness they're trying to pass off as music. And that goes double for Countermine. You'll still buy it though. Damn you.

Should you want to buy this, because I clearly don't know what I'm talking about most of the time, you will have to wait until 2nd May, 2005. How will you ever cope?

Anna Claxton