With guest reviewer VV Brown...
VV Brown

Soulful pop starlet VV Brown is this week’s guest reviewer… WELCOME, VV.

The singer (pictured) is gearing up to release her new single, ‘Shark In The Water’, in early July; she’s plenty of festival dates lined up, too, so summer-lovers roaming the fields of our fair land will undoubtedly stumble across her hook-filled material before long – check dates on MySpace.

Prior to the singer’s notes – and she did actually make notes before reading aloud to the class – here’s her new video (it’s pretty much So Hot Right Now). Reviews, they follow.

VV Brown – ‘Shark In The Water’

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Single of the Week

Duchess Says – ‘Black Flag’
Canadian foursome, signed to Gossip-loving label Back Yard in the UK, and similarly perky if a little more, erm, mental…
“This is the first I’ve heard of this band, and it’s a great introduction. It taps into the electro scene that’s coming to prominence this year, and has a great chorus and a mix of guitars and electro. It’s got a great club feel, and I get the sense of a strong woman in the vocals. It’s cool, but sort of subtle enough to be called great. I really like it.”

Duchess Says – ‘Black Flag’

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Also out today…

Tori Amos – ‘Welcome To England’
New single from celebrated British songstress, from forthcoming album ‘Abnormally Attracted To Sin’…
“This is a typical Tori Amos song, really – quite the magical melodic journey, but the chorus doesn’t take you where you expect it to. It’s slightly disappointing in that respect, but enough to make me want to listen to her album, to the album this is from.”

The Emperor Machine – ‘Kananana’
Progressive dance stylings from one Andrew Meecham…
“The title makes me want to like this instantly, as I try to wrap my tongue around it. The bassline really moves things along, with echoes of CSS and Cornelius. However, it does eventually seem slightly pretentious and self-indulgent.”

Crystal Stilts – ‘Love Is A Wave’
New York garage-rockers get sun-blessed in time for the summer…
“This has got an interesting title – it immediately makes me feel quite euphoric, picturing myself on a beach, playing volleyball with half the teams made up of beach bums, the other members of The Smiths. It’s quite nostalgic, and a great summertime sound – it’d maybe be a little monotonous if it went on too long, though.”

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Crystal Stilts – ‘Love Is A Wave’

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Alex Metric – ‘Head Straight’
Acclaimed DJ in releasing-own-material (and it being decent) shocker…
“This is really radio friendly – I can definitely imagine it slipping onto the airwaves. There’s a strong vocal melody, and immediately I can feel my toe start twitching – this has got real ‘pop hit’ potential, actually. It’s a little bit like Dan Black… that’s not a problem, is it? Can I say this? Dan Black may… No, no… I’m not going to say that. I hate the idea that an artist can’t sound like someone else. It really pisses me off when people say that.”

Snow Patrol – ‘The Planets Bend Between Us’
Oh, you know…
“It’s a bit too safe, really – I would have liked to hear some more development in their sound. This might be a nice album track, albeit nothing to lift you out of your seat. It doesn’t sound like a single to me. I’d like to hear something bolder, with more depth, and I think that’s what they need now to boost their credibility.”

The Phantom Band – ‘The Howling’
Experimental Scottish collective responsible for the awesome ‘Checkmate Savage’ album…
“I’m going to make this quite brief: deep… almost like an electronic Incubus.”
Clash: Incubus? Like, the nu-metal band?
“It’s meant as a positive! I like Incubus… and his vocal here reminds me of them. It’s quite delightful!”

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The Phantom Band – ‘The Howling’

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them:youth – ‘Bows & Arrows’
London newcomers with more than a whiff of the past about them…
“They really make me think of the 1990s… What’s that song, with the video with a boy and girl playing on the swings? The Beautiful South? It reminds me of them… But it’s not bad. The melodies are married nicely, and the shuffle of the drums moves things along. It’s okay, but not great.”

TV On The Radio – ‘Crying’
NYC trailblazers release a digital-only single from their superb ‘Dear Science’ LP…
“I’m really reminded of David Bowie and Prince with this one – they’ve obviously got the ability to create pop melodies with super-cool production, and I’m on the verge of loving it… but not quite. I think I’d be converted fully by a great live gig. It’s great… but I think I’d need to hear it more than the once to really understand it.”

James Yuill – ‘Over The Hills’
Experimental sort does pop with a remarkable straight face…
“It sounds like a fairground, d’ya know what I mean? I loved it immediately. Can I have it? I think he’s good… maybe a bit too ‘of the moment’, as I’m not sure of the longevity of stuff like this. But right now, it sounds great.”


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