Music Features

Singles (2006/12)

Way back in 2004, Cam Lindsay edited a prolific singles column, often covering forty to fifty tracks per month. Until its sad demise later that year, this was one of the site's most popular sections and our primary source for covering new music. And we've missed it. With our new website up and running and making life at No Ripcord easier than ever, we feel the time is right to revive our singles section, albeit it in a slightly new format.

Each calendar month will have its own dedicated singles page on the site, with reviews of official singles, download releases and other individual tracks being added throughout that month. These reviews will be presented in a blog-like format and, where possible, we will provide external links to enable you to download or stream the relevant tracks. All reviews will be archived chronologically (by month) in our features archive.

Well, that's enough in the way of explanation for now. Let's get on with the reviews...

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8 DECEMBER, 2006

Tiny Dancers - 'Lions and Tigers and Lions'

Russian Doll / Parlophone

It's been a good year for Sheffield music in both commercial and critical terms. The Arctic Monkeys sold millions and won a Mercury Award (whatever that means) and in their wake bands like Bromhead's Jacket, the Long Blondes and Milburn have all done rather well. Even Richard Hawley, who's been releasing quality solo material for years, seems to be getting the recognition he finally deserves. Will the trend continue in 2007? I'm sure Tiny Dancers certainly hope so, although on the basis of this 5 track EP the jury's still out. Moody opener 20 to 9 is the standout for me, recalling British Sea Power circa their stunning debut, but the remainder - a mélange of jangly guitars, sugary harmonies, and unconvincing flirtations with synthesizers - doesn't quite convince. (6) DC

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Vive Voce - 'Faster Than a Dead Horse'

Full Time Hobby

Kevin and Anita Robinson, the husband and wife team behind Vive Voce make a tighter, more intriguing racket than many a four-piece. Taken from their third album Get Yr Blood Sucked Out, this pulsating, hypnotic track, features relentless drums, droning rhythm guitars, dreamlike female vocals and a contorted solo straight out of the J Mascis songbook. What more could you want? (7) DC

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Lemmy / John5 / Eric Singer - 'Back In The USSR

Rykodisc / Restless

If you buy one Beatles related artefact this year please make it George and Giles Martin's rather ingenious Love album and not Butchering the Beatles, the self-proclaimed 'headbashing tribute' that spawned this unnecessary offering. Lemmy's vocal has a wavering, hoarse quality that just screams laryngitis to me, while the plodding hard rock backdrop is neither shocking nor interesting in 2006. And if you think this is bad, you really need to hear Queensryche and Dio taking on Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. (1) DC

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4 DECEMBER, 2006

Melodium - 'My Xylophone Loves Me'

Autres Directions in Music

With a MySpace account and a half decent computer, it's now officially easier than ever for bored students to reinvent themselves as avant-garde electronic musicians or DIY singer-songwriters. Creating something that's actually worth listening to, however, remains as challenging as ever. As he proved on 2005's very impressive La Tête Qui Flotte album, Laurent Girard aka Melodium is one such bedroom electronic musician with this gift. Taken from his latest LP, Music For Invisible People, My Xylophone Loves Me is another fine example of Girard's talents. Inventive programmed beats, warming synthesiser lines and, you guessed it, magical xylophone melodies lead the way, while subtle acoustic guitars and a desolate groan of a vocal add a welcome human touch. The rest of the album's not bad either. (8) DC

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Good Shoes - 'The Photos on My Wall'

Brille Records

How these four young men from London settled upon Good Shoes as a name for their fledgling band is something of a mystery to me. It smacks of compromise, which is rarely a good characteristic in the creative fields. The Photos on My Wall, along with its two forgettable b-sides, hints that the band's moniker was not the only contentious issue in that early discussion. Should we play tight, jangly pop or just go for angular Gang Of Four-isms like everyone else? With three tracks running at under 7 minutes it seems that brevity was the only trait they could agree on. (5) DC

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