Raph's February 2004 Musical Overview

All-girl Brighton instrumentalists Electrelane bring in Nirvana producer Steve Albini along with vocals for the first time and the result, The Power Out, is a brilliant, off-the-wall lo-fi assault that should fail miserably but instead succeeds wonderfully.

The Still’s Logic Will Break Your Heart quietly received its proper UK release and scraped a Top 40 chart single with Lola Stars And Stripes. The Stills acquire a fine balance between adult rock and gritty punk, and it’s no wonder they’ve been touring with Ryan Adams on his Rock N Roll tour.

You have to hand it to Courtney Love. Just when you think you can write her off for good, based on the court cases, the drugs, the headlines…she proves you wrong by unleashing a fine collection of catchy punkpop, including the fine lead single Mono. America’s Sweetheart is better than you’d give her credit for.

Dismiss these camp retro-rockers at your peril! The Scissor Scissers are an NYC band turning their attention to the other side of the seventies – glam rock and Elton John. The self-titled debut is a fun, consistent collection of addictive tunes that will cause you to ‘take your mama out’ and dance.

Re-released with bonus tracks to coincide with the amazing chart success of breakthrough single Run, Snow Patrols’s Final Straw is a strong third album from the Dundee University band that many will consider as a direct comparison with Coldplay or Lowgold. The rockier songs are much better than the slow ballads, but in which direction will chart sales dictate their decisions?

1208’s Turn Of The Screw is an OK attempt for to do something new with the collegiate sound of punk rock. The California band fail in what is an over-saturated marketplace, but still throw in a couple of decent tunes.

Releasing a double album can be pretentious and over-indulgent, but Lambchop’s simultaneous release of Aw C’mon / No You C’mon was a masterstroke of lounge Americana with an abundance of golden richest spread throughout the two albums.

February 2004 Album Of The Month

Album of the month for February was a close call but Stereolab has to clinch it. Overcoming the tragic death of band member Mary Hansen, Tim Gane looks to both the past and the future with Margerine Eclipse and graces with the best ’lab album in years, and this just months after the release of brilliant EP Instant 0 In The Universe.

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