I recieve too many demos like this. Can aspiring bands please note that emulating Oasis is not going to win you any favours in A&B, or even amongst the large record companies who have finally realised that Britpop isn't going to be resurrected. Basement 69 disappoint because they promise so much over this professionally recorded demo. The screwed up guitar that leads into 'Mother Nature' shows a high level of technical adeptness, and the naggingly familiar 'Superstar' is evidence that mainman Mike Militello is capable of writng a very catchy tune. However, Basement 69 fail in that they are totally devoid of anything original or inventive. The songs are too similar to those Dadrock bands that virtually starved innovative music for a sustained period. I'm sorry, but this is the sound of five years ago, and I don't like it.
Contact 69 Batholomew Road, London, NW5 2AH or visit www.superlava.com
I don't like comparing new bands to established stars because it is lazy journalism, and restricts an act from forming their own identity. However, Baby Doll are so similar to Generation Terrorists era Manics that the comparison is unavoidable. Everything from the mildly epic punk sound to the self-consciouslyly intellectual lyrics are identical. The singer even strains his voice in the same manner that James Dean Bradfield does. The tunes themselves are fairly likeable; the guitar rush of 'Assassination Is Only Left Politics' particularly caught my attention. I've got to judge Babydoll harshly though, and state that they quite simply will not suceed in their current guise. Record companies will not be intersted in a carbon copy version of the Manics. Don't do it. Oh yeah, ten track demos are far too long, please stick to rather less in future.
Contact 17 Scardale, Heelands, Milton Keynes, MK13, 7NP
The A&B website has really expanded the zine's readership, and I'm getting demos from all over the country these days...keep them coming. Germinal hail from South Wales, and some of that region's eclectic reputation for producing weird and wonderful sounds has certainly rubbed off on them. The most striking aspect of the band is Darren Purvis' chillingly deep voice, which, combined with gentle musicianship on 'Mild Deliverance', creates sinister atmospherics. Musically, the band are rooted in progressive rock, but 'Skin' still sounds remarkabley fresh; I think it's the drama and energy of the song that appeals to me so much. However, Germinal prove they do have a weakness; 'Unknown Company' sounds like a rehash of some of their other material, so it'd be nice to see them widening their musical pallet a bit more. Over the course of the demo though, it's evident that Germinal are capable of producing fantastic nuggets of pacey, emotive acoustic rock, but their sound can be rather limited.
Contact PO Box 137, Newport, NP19 8YL or visit www.germination.co.uk.
Hoof play metal. And punk. And whatever they want to really, but only with mixed results. Opening track 'Royce' is built around a heavily distorted guitar sound and has lots of swearing, but the shouty chorus recalls those horrible bands that the grunge explosion helped destroy. 'Nato Express' is considerably more simplistic, and much better for it, producing a vaguely punky melody. There's still too much shouting in the chorus though. No such problems are evident in the instrumental 'Monster Crunch', a fine blend of sinister guitars and swinging basslines. Hoof end their demo on the highest note, but too many of their songs are regurgitated sounds from earlier this decade. I'm sure they'd be more exciting live, and the band are not short of ideas, but work is needed on those important things called melodies.
Contact 285 Lower Richmond Road, Richmond, Surrey or email@example.com.
This is classy stuff. In fact, if I owned a record label, I would definitely release this as a single. Hopefully there's somebody out there who will have the good sense and taste to do just that, because Los Nachos are piping hot. Basking in chic garage cool, opening track 'Gotstahave' swirls together the essence of dreamy sixties rock and modern melodic noise to perfection. The pace is then slowed down by the effortlessly suave and slinky 'Gimme No'; has garage rock ever sounded so smooth? The production is so poilished for a demo too, and the subtle guitar touches add significantly to the burning mood of the track. 'LN vs. JB' is a suitabley breakneck finale, all crunchy chords, strangled guitars and a meltdown of claustrophobic vocals. Los Nachos are amazing...make them famous somebody, please! The British public need more snarling garage rock on their radio!
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.losnachos.com.
This band have exceptional taste in music, and although Misterhall's debut demo see them often emulating their heroes rather than expanding upon them, they still show great potential. 'Monkeys on the Bridge' is a dynamic opener, combining quirky pop hooks with brittle lo-fi guitars, and it's the finest song on the demo. Second track 'Fall Like Flies' see the band on a bit of a Radiohead trip and so isn't really to my taste, but the moment when the layered guitars kick in is pretty cool. I've seen Misterhall live on two occasions, and both times it has been the shouty 'Mike Teevee' that has grabbed my attention. Recorded, the song is a bit tamer but is still a feisty slice of stroppy pop. Bizarre lyrics though, too much time spent reading children's books if you ask me. Anyway, this a fine demo making all the right noises. Give Misterhall a couple of years and a few more gigs and they'll get even better.
Contact 6 Dorchester Road, Weybridge, Surrey, KT13 8PG or visit www.misterhall.moonfruit.com
Power chords, snarled vocals, cheap sound; Revolver remind me of all those Snakebite City bands. Whether that's a positive remark or not I'll leave to your discretion! It is easy to judge Revolver though; their mid-paced power-pop tunes are pleasant enough, but are ultimately lacking in innovation. 'Comic Book Hero' is almost saved by having a quirky female voice performing the backing vocals, but the melody is completely forgetable. This trend is continued with 'Far Away', which suffers the same fate. A band has a problem when the listener cannot remember their songs after repeated listenings. The punk-pop genre is so saturated, that a band has to be something very special to succeed. Revolver have a long way to go.
Contact PO Box 57, Bexleyheath, DA7 6ZP or visit www.peoplesound.com/artists/revolver.
I am assured that this demo is slightly unrepresentative of how Sweet Venus sound today, and that they plan to record new material over the summer, but these songs still display a strong degree of potential. The sound recording is very muddy, but the quirky pop hooks and dynamic guitars of 'Underground' still shine through. 'Alice (The Darker Side Of)' is more fuzzed up, and Angela's singing is all lovely and atmospheric. I don't like the twangy basslines though, far too Eighties. The band change direction for 'Whisper From The Well', which has definite celtic edges to it, although the urgent guitar sound is still there. As previously stated, Sweet Venus show a lot of promise for producing warped, but strangely vibrant pop music, and I await the next instalment with interest.
Contact 3 Tenbury Road (Flat 5), Kings Heath, Birmingham, B14 6AD or visit www.sundial.dircon.co.uk .
Issue 6 Contents
Issue 6 Summer 2000 © Tim Bragger