"Ask Auntie Annakin"- what Anna C thinks of…

FLOTATION TOY WARNING- Bluffer's guide to the flight deck

This is womb music. By which I mean music which transports me back to a time when I was happily unaware and didn't have to worry about paying a gas bill or whether the roof is going to fall in because my landlord hasn't fixed it. How I wish I could shrink to that size again. But I digress. In other words, this angelic quintet debut mostly very long, slow songs which lull you into relaxation kicking and screaming. I didn't take much convincing, I can tell you. At times wistful (you never heard a wistful brass band until you've heard this), at times humourous (I wouldn't expect a song called "Fire Engine on Fire Part 1" to have much hand-clapping but it does), Flotation Toy Warning joyfully combine the harmonic indie beauty of The Delgados or Jet Johnson with soft crooning vocals and an instrument called a domingotron (answers on a postcard from whoever can tell me what this is). Along with a whole host of other weird and wonderful sounds, which sometimes brings to mind the more laidback and experimental Donderevo, to make you feel like you're swimming in luke-warm, er, bodily fluids. In outer space. Hoorah.


This is not for those people who like moving and shaking. Unless we're talking the stress-related rocking back and forth which hearing bands like this has induced. Yet even this is difficult to do to the backing track of constant "look-at-me-aren't-I-clever" time changes. Though don't get me wrong; I think that the fact that this Cambridge-based trio sound like Muse dressed as Jeff Buckley playing Radiohead covers is great. In short, the singer has extreme vocal talent and the band are very competent, for those who only formed not six months ago. It's just that they have taken dreariness to a whole new level, a level which meant I only bothered listening to the first track, something that I try never to do. It was either that or jump off the roof of my house. Now, if you don't mind, the dressing on my ears needs changing.

THE ZIPPER- The Zipper

And the winner of the "Doing it for the Kids" award this month is… Vowing to put an end to corporate rock music and plotting imminent revenge against the bigwigs who have stolen the hearts of the bands they once loved, you could be forgiven for thinking that a) have this band seen Jetplane Landing live too many times? and b) this is quite a large and daunting job for a three-piece from the wilds of Bedford. But, noise being their obvious weapon of choice, these McClusky sound-a-likes whip up an arrogant commotion unlike that of most other trios, no doubt being the first to tell you that just some of the highlights of their year so far have been a successful trip to Texas for the SXSW Festival and nabbing numerous other coveted support slots for the likes of Seafood and Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster. And listening to the powerful punch of tracks misleadingly titled "Disco" and "Everybody's Favourite Karaeoke Song", I, for one, am not going to argue as to why. Definitely worth a gander.

9FOLDPUNCH- Suddenly Out of Nowhere

This youthful four-piece from the deeper corners of Cambridgeshire are punkier than punk and, although they claim to be un-influenced by the influx of American artists, instead preferring comparisons to ACDC or The Ramones, they undoubtedly are. Please turn to the first page of your textbooks; album opener "This is a Song". So, after all these years, I now know what a song actually sounds like and apparently it is something between Sum41, Blink 182 and probably a few more bands with numbers in their name. Although 9FoldPunch are thankfully not as whining, instead favouring the melodic English public schoolboy vocalist approach, and who am I to say that that doesn't work? Already building quite a reputation for themselves locally, all jibes aside, I honestly think this is very promising stuff; not only do they kindly and politely invite their listeners to wish upon a star (lighters aloft for the sweet "Ode to a Friend"), indulge in some hardcore speed-metal instrumental shenanigans ("Eleven") but also prove that Stuart from Big Brother and his Team Handsome cronies are no competition for the best Busted tribute band around ("Heartbreak Pie"). Check out that high-jumping action at a Repeat gig near you soon.

Nine Fold Punch

MOFRO- Lochloosa

This album has caused something of a dispute in my household. Whenever it is played, I, for example, want to swing my partner round and round, excitedly bumping backsides, whilst only wishing I had snake-hips to shake. However, my partner doesn't want to be swung, instead preferring to sit back and pretend he was relaxing in the deep south, possibly on a rickety old porch chair or wading in The Bog of Eternal Stench, or, at least, a pretty muddy bog-type place. Fair enough. Each to their own. All I can say is watch out for those aligators. Men.
Even so, it can be gathered that there is something for everyone on this record and what we both agreed is that we loved what we heard and couldn't wait to hear it again. The reason for this, apparently, is swamp rock country soul; sometimes longing and lilting (the smooth and sultry "The Wrong Side"), sometimes bottom-shaking funk heaven ("Dirtfloorcracker"). I personally think it's because MOFRO use a bass player called Fabrice. And if that wasn't cool enough, his nickname is "Fabgrease". This fact, along with the laidback soulful vocals of multi-talented singer and possible lovechild of Stevie Wonder or Otis Redding, JJ Grey, and the deep twanging sensation that is guitarist Daryl Hance, make this the coolest album to own this summer, for whatever reason. Expect to see these guys rubbing shoulders with Jools Holland very soon.

Anna Claxton